Monday, September 8, 2014

9/08 STEPHEN PEPE, CLOS PEPE VINEYARDS, OFER SHEPHER, SPEAR VINEYARDS AND WINERY, SAVE OUR STA. HILLS AVA

STEPHEN PEPE – OWNER, CLOS PEPE VINEYARDS LLC  & OFER SHEPHER - OWNER/VINTNER,  SPEAR VINEYARDS & WINERY - SAVE OUR STA. RITA HILLS AVA!

 THE ISSUE:

  • Last year the Board of the SRHWA voted unanimously to oppose the expansion of the SRH into an area north and east of the current, legal, historic boundary.
  • The Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance Board asked Wes Hagen to serve as the ‘Integrity Czar’, and spearhead an attempt to oppose the expansion.  
  • The time has come to call ALL members to action.  This needs to be done today or it won’t get done.
  • Each member should encourage their family, employees, winemaker, asst. winemaker, cellar rats, customers, tasting room staff and wine club to comment online AND write a letter to the TTB and thus go on the record that they oppose the expansion of the SRH into an area purposefully omitted by the original petitioners.  
  • I am asking each member that is committed to this defense to encourage at least 10 letters be written.  100 would be much better, and perfectly do-able.
  • It will be very disappointing if we cannot produce 500-1000 letters of opposition in this fight.  Letters are public and we will all be able to see who engages and who ignores this moment to protect what you all have worked so hard define and build.  Wes will start making inquiry calls late September to those that have not engaged, which will be a huge waste his my time during crush.
  • I have found it takes about one minute to encourage a letter via email or Facebook.  If I can make the time to do this, you can too.  Be brave and great forces will come to our aid!!  Choose the heaviest hitters of the wine world in your FB friends and email lists and send them this document.
 THE PLAN:
  • The Sta Rita Hills Winegrowers has hired lawyers and experts to produce a ‘Master Document’ that will detail our opposition with science, history, viticulture and geology
  • SRHWA will produce a Master Document to submit right before the end of Public Comment period which is quickly approaching.  It will contain expert opinions on climate, geology, geomorphology, satellite imagery, local use of names and many other sections
  • Members, sommeliers, wine shop owners, customers, neighbors, land owners, etc. will write their own letters of opposition according to the instructions carefully constructed below.  These are the letters we need you to encourage TODAY.  When the fruit starts rolling in, we will have to pause this fight.  I cannot stress strongly enough how important that we focus on this issue TODAY!  Be sensitive and substantive in your opposition.


THE DETAILS:
Educate yourself, and if you feel comfortable opposing the expansion of the Sta Rita Hills AVA, use the following guide to writing a letter of opposition. I have also attached a PDF document that includes tips for submitting effective comments.  BE SUBSTANTATIVE!  Data matters, as do your opinions.  Don’t be snarky or angry.  Be reasonable, thoughtful and persuasive!

(USE YOUR OWN WORDS AND DON’T JUST PASTE)
Go here:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=TTB-2014-0007-0001 to submit your comment electronically.  We also suggest you print and mail your comment as well.

If you already sent a comment to TTB, you need to send it again.  You can also mail comments via U.S. Mail: Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW., Box 12, Washington, DC 20005.  ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY OCTOBER 6, 2014.  Please read the section “General Rules for Commenting” before submitting your comment.  Your comment must reference Notice No. 145 and must include your name and mailing address.  You must state if your comment comes from an association, business or other entity.

Your comment will be most valuable if it represents your knowledge of the area and supports what we know to be the correct boundaries of our Sta Rita Hills AVA.  Your comment should introduce who you are and your relationship to this area or the industry.

ABOUT CLOS PEPE:
Clos Pepe Vineyard was purchased by Steve and Cathy Pepe in 1994 as a horse ranch, and established the 9th vineyard in what would become the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Specializing in cool-climate, small production, craft-based Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Clos Pepe is now recognized as a leader in local and national wine culture, wine education and providing fruit to some of the best winemakers in California.

The Italians say, ‘Il vino e' la Poesia della Terra.’  Wine is the poetry of the earth.  There is nothing that can obfuscate Pinot Noir’s ability to speak of a time and place.  Of every plant on earth, Pinot Noir is unique in its ability to show every angle of a vintage, every silt particle in the soil, and every drop of morning dew that wet its leaves. Tea, coffee, white truffles—these can tell a story and confound us with their deliciousness, but the uncontested Queen of Natural Complexity must be Pinot Noir. We anticipate each vintage with a proper mix of anxiety and hope, knowing Mother Nature and the Sta. Rita Hills have a plan that will allow time and effort to fill a glass.

ABOUT OFER SHEPHER:
I am the proprietor of Spear Vineyards located on the south side of HWY 246 west of Drum Canyon across from Dierberg. I’ve spent nearly a decade on the Gnesa Family Vineyards property while planning my dream of farming and producing wine in our world class appellation. After nearly eight years, I was finally blessed with the opportunity to acquire an amazing and precious site within this magnificent AVA. While I had multiple opportunities to acquire land outside of the SRH AVA, I held steadfast. You can imagine my dismay upon finding out that my dream appellation was potentially going to have its boundaries modified. I implore you to give this pending matter appropriate thought, consideration and action. We’ll only get one shot at this.

CLOSPEPE.COM
WWW.SPEARWINERY.COM

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