Tasting rooms versus better shopping?

Letter to the Editor


Editor, Index-Tribune:

This letter was sent to the City of Sonoma Planning Commission:

It was last Mother’s Day and we’d stopped at a local winery to celebrate. Standing next to us at the bar were a young couple from South Carolina, who’d left their two toddlers with her parents so they could enjoy a week in Wine Country.

After spending a few days in Napa, they’d come over to Sonoma and spent the day checking out the Square. I couldn’t help but ask what they thought of our town. Her reply was simple, “Too many tasting rooms.”

Her husband added, “We’d planned to spend three nights here, but changed our mind and are going back over to Napa.”

“Better shopping,” she explained. And so it begins.

Which raised the question, just how many tasting rooms does a town our size really need? We’ve already lost 30-plus retail sites. Wake up, Sonoma. Carmel didn’t, and by the time they got around to voting a moratorium on art galleries, the damage was done. Write or call the Planning Commission; tell them we want a limit to tasting rooms and we want it now!

Joan Allnut


  • Justincase Weego

    Once again, I’ve caught myself reading some opinions on this “too many tasting rooms” issue, and I’m not sure what to think about some of them. First of all, comparing Sonoma to Napa or Carmel in this instance is like comparing apples to oranges, at the very least. No, we don’t have an outlet mall, two Target stores, a Walmart, or however many Starbucks stores are over there in Napa, in Sonoma. I’m pretty sure we don’t want that. And we don’t have it. Art galleries could be numerous in many towns anywhere, not just Carmel. Is too much art bad? But is there something wrong with wine tasting rooms in the Wine Country? Do you really think we need to target the “shopping crowd” instead of the people that come to our town to taste some world class wine? Look at the big picture once in awhile.

    Whether we accept it or not, Sonoma is a tourist attraction, mainly due to being in the Wine Country. That makes sense to me. We, as compared to “them”, even offer some free tastings and are referred to by wine tasters as….” more laid back, and it’s much more relaxing in Sonoma”. You’re lucky if you can find a free tasting in Napa. With the difference between the two wine tasting regions being so vast, you’d think that we were in different countries, not just over the hill, ten miles away. I have never understood the difference of attitudes, but I guess I don’t need to.
    Like was said in one article a few months ago……” is there too much sand at the beach?”
    Thank you for your time.