Sonoma Winegrowers say frost protection rules could create economic havoc

on 08/11/10 at 11:19 pm

Industry

Sonoma County winegrowers are predicting economic havoc if proposed new state regulations go into effect next year that would crimp their use of Russian River water for vineyard frost protection.

A study released last week shows the proposed new rules “will severely impact California’s economy and tax base and even damage the entire nation both financially and socially,” said John Dyson, owner of Healdsburg’s prestigious Williams Selyem Winery on Westside Road.

The expense of having to comply with potentially costly new laws limiting how much — if any — water could be pumped from rivers and streams to protect crops against frost might actually wipe out some smaller growers, says the 53-page study that was paid for by Williams Selyem and authored by Robert Eyler, professor and Chair of Economics at Sonoma State University and director of the SSU Center for Regional Economic Analysis.

The new regulations “would cost California jobs, revenues and land values,” says Eyler’s study on the economic impact of frost protection regulation in the Russian River watershed.

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