I am posting the speech I wrote up and read at a public forum on winery events held by the County of Sonoma’s Permit and Resource Management Department. Attendees included wine and grape growers as well as neighborhood groups and concerned citizens as we look to the future of marketing wine here in the county.
88 years ago my grandparents purchased vineyard and a defunct winery in what would become known as Dry Creek Valley. They arrived with their young family and began selling grapes to support their family because Prohibition was in place at the time. You should know that Prohibition was also the reason the first family had to sell and give up their dream. Upon Repeal my grandfather dusted off the winery equipment and began making wine out of the grapes he farmed. Ag, at its most basic, sustains a family through good and bad times-Prohibition, Depression, recession, bountiful harvests and wine booms. Today second, third and fourth generation Pedroncelli family members are make a living and live here in Sonoma County.
Imagine how much has changed for us over 8 decades of selling wine. Word of mouth, as in my grandfather’s day, is still important but the scope has changed. We incorporate educational activities and events to promote and sell our wine. Regulation of these will only curtail or even kill off present and future efforts of marketing our product to visitors in Sonoma County. What is required is greater enforcement of the General Plan’s policies. We are creative in how we market our wines. Please don’t prohibit our creativity of emphasizing the lifestyle and wine’s part in Sonoma County.
I ask on behalf of the next generations of my family and other families who dream of putting down wine or grape roots here in Sonoma County. I encourage you to gain a complete understanding of what we do on a daily basis-and gain an understanding of our history and how we got here-with beginnings as far back as the 1850’s. I found a quote from History of Sonoma County by J.P. Munro-Fraser, 1879: “(Dry Creek Valley) is without peer in the production of wheat, corn and staple products while the hill land on its border produces all kinds of fruit, being especially adapted to grape culture.” Agriculture and product sales is what keeps a diverse culture in our county. We don’t want to become like Santa Clara County which to this day regrets the loss of agriculture to Silicon Valley.
My hope is to preserve our family business so my grandsons have a chance to continue the heritage begun by their great-great-grandparents. Here's to family traditions with a splash of Zinfandel in my Dino!
Couldn't resist including a shot of Jordan and Weston in the barrel room-future winemakers? salesman? Time will tell.