INTRIGUING SMALL WINERY ADVOCATE

As CEO of Save the Family Farms, a group of owner-occupied, Napa Valley grape growers that classify themselves as ‘micro-producers,’ George O’Meara works to protect Napa’s smallest wineries and vineyards. His goal is that Napa County acknowledge family farms’ historical, cultural, and winemaking legacy by creating a reasonable path to compliance. “Current Napa County regulations take a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach, demanding small, family farms spend several years trying for a use permit,” said O’Meara, an accomplished sales executive with extensive leadership experience in solution sales, business development, IT consulting/ professional services, and leadership development. He is also proprietor and vintner with master-gardener wife Barb of Double O Vineyards & Garden in the Coombsville AVA.  The duo was first bitten by the wine bug while attending their first wine club event at Mike Grgich’s home in 1985. They’ve been Napa residents since 2006, enjoying Coombsville’s relaxed pace and sense of calm. The devoted grandfather of two and enthusiastic golfer has been working with Napa’s Board of Supervisors for nearly three years to create a new avenue for these small family farms and vineyard producers to participate in a new Napa County Micro-Winery Ordinance, which would allow each to operate for generations to come. “Data suggests that nearly 200 small family vineyards have either gone out of business or sold to investors in the last five years, some as a direct result of the unfair regulations imposed on growers,” said O’Meara. “Small  family  farms  and  vineyards are not designed to fit into a box designed for large  scale winery facilities.”

 

Article By: Fran Miller