Leadership Napa Valley Class 31 was fortunate enough to experience the Agricultural and Wine Industry just a few days shy of the 50th Anniversary of the Napa County Agricultural Preserve. The implementation of the Agricultural Preserve was monumental for Napa County and it was clear throughout that much of the quality of life we in experience in Napa is a direct result of the vision to protect agriculture as the highest and best use of the land.
Leadership Napa Valley Agricultural/Wine Industry Day 1 was held at Regusci Winery. The class had the opportunity to hear about the Napa Agricultural Preserve directly from Supervisor Diane Dillon and Ren Harris—both have a deep personal connection. Afterwards, and in the pouring rain, the class had the opportunity to take a vineyard walk with the Regusci Family and their staff. The class was particularly impressed with the Regusci’s dedication to good farming practices and their dedication to their industry and how that industry fits in to Napa’s greater community. The day ended with a wine blending session with Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci. It was an incredible opportunity to learn what is required to create the incredible wines produced in the Napa Valley.
Day 2 began at the Mondavi Farmworker Center where the class had the opportunity to learn how the agricultural community and vineyard owners support farmworkers by providing safe and clean living facilities. The class then met with the Farmworker Foundation and learned more about the industry’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of farmworkers. We were particularly impressed by Armando Hurtado, the first recipient of a scholarship from the Farmworker Foundation to provide educational opportunities for the children of Napa County’s critical agricultural workforce. We were also surprised to learn that women are emerging as leaders in vineyard and farming operations and we had the opportunity to hear firsthand experiences from three women breaking down that barrier.
Day 2 ended at Connolly Ranch where Class 31 experienced life on a working farm that also offers outdoor education to children and families. Connolly Ranch is housed in Napa’s beautiful Browns Valley neighborhood and is equipped with a pond, hiking trails, a beautiful garden, chickens, pigs, and other farm animals. This majestic place supports summer camps, birthday parties, an outdoor playschool for children and public events such as movies under the stars and nature walks. The staff is friendly, sharp, and is incredibly passionate about Connolly Ranch and how it fits in with Napa and the outdoors.
Overall, Agricultural and Wine day was an absolute hit for the Class 31 as it brought us even closer to Napa’s origin and all that it has accomplished as the premier wine growing region of the world.
Submitted by Wes Salter and Molly Rattigan, participants in LNV Class 31.