In 1968, agriculture in Napa County was not just grapes, but also included walnuts, prunes, cattle and more. Napa County Board of Supervisors chair, Julias Caiocca, felt that, “Prunes and walnuts are going to hell.” And with fewer than sixty-five wineries operating in the Napa Valley, and the wine boom many years away, many were saying grapes were also in danger.
Many towns and suburban cities, including those here in the Napa Valley,
recognized that while redevelopment modernized residential and commercial neighborhoods in many positive ways, it was often at the expense of historic buildings and agricultural lands. Area residents and growers alike were terrified by some population projections that by the year 2020, nearly half a million people could relocate to Napa County, over 200,000 of them in the city of Napa alone.
Not far away, in the Santa Clara Valley, there was a relevant example of a similarly rural and agricultural region being lost to suburban sprawl and over-development thanks to Silicon Valley’s virtually uncontrolled growth.
Caltrans had proposed a four-lane freeway all the way to Calistoga, and even more frightening to local agriculture, was the fact that regional planners were mulling over the idea of constructing an international airport in the Carneros growing region (south of Napa) that could rival San Francisco International (SFO) in size.