We weren’t the only ones frustrated by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors’ decision last week, and we also weren’t the only ones frustrated and baffled by Jim Law’s bombshell at the meeting. We’ve taken a little heat for our position so I wanted to clarify how, going forward, we’ll be approaching doing business in Fauquier County – and with Linden Vineyards.
Let’s take the county first. We will, obviously, visit and purchase wines from wineries based in Fauquier County. Beyond that the only other businesses in Fauquier County with whom we will spend money are Mom & Pop operations. I’m not going to penalize small businesses who didn’t play a part in this. Big box stores and chains are off limits for us, as are gas stations. Last year I spent nearly $6,000 on fuel JUST for business and at least 75% of that was in Fauquier County, because of how my route works out. No more. When I tried contacting the Board of Supervisors I was told that because I wasn’t a county resident, they didn’t care to talk to me. Fair enough; I’m going to limit how much tourism and business expense revenue I provide to Fauquier County then.
Here’s what Fauquier County gets from me from now on (with the above exceptions):
That was the easy decision. Now for the harder one.
When Jim Law stood up in front of the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors and stated his support for the proposed Farm Winery Ordinance, I felt betrayed. His argument was that eliminating events and other activities would allow wineries to focus on growing grapes and making great wines.
Now, we’ve had numerous debates on this blog about events and tourism versus wine making and how they all affect one another. Do I think that Linden (and a couple of others) are able to make excellent wines in part because they don’t also host cornhole tournaments and weekly weddings? Sure. That doesn’t mean that you can’t strike a balance of events and wine making.
Jim Law was able to start Linden Vineyards and do it the way he did because he had family money behind him. He told us that at Taste Camp, so don’t think I’m assuming. Rutger de Vink, of the $88 bottle of VA wine, is able to run his winery project the way he does because he’s a multi-millionaire. Rutger didn’t show up at the BoS meeting but he sent someone to read a letter from him into the record, supporting the ordinance as well.
That’s great that these guys can do this. What’s not great is that they’re saying that Fauquier County wine is the high rollers table. Unless you can buy in for the big dollar amount and absorb the losses until your wine takes off, you need to GTFO. Starting (and running) a winery is incredibly expensive. Denying a winery owner alternative revenue streams until their winery is profitable makes wine a rich kids’ club. That sucks, when you consider that at its core, wine is a blend of farming, art, and science. You don’t need a Swiss bank account to master those.
You can’t write about Virginia wine without writing about Jim Law. He has consistently led the way and he’s still doing so. So, we visited Linden several weeks ago, before all this went down. We’re still going to write about our visit and the wines. We’ll open and blog the Linden wines we own at some point, and I’m sure we’ll be back in the future. However, I think it’s important that everyone who disagrees with the way Jim Law chose to make his points at the meeting says so. We are.
And for everyone telling us “oh but he has a right to his opinion blah blah blah -” you’re right. He has a right to his opinion. He had previously sent a letter of support to the Board of Supervisors so not only did he have an opinion, he made it part of the record. While his focus on quality winemaking is important and great and a conversation worth having, it is not what the Board of Supervisors was debating. It was (in my personal opinion) not the appropriate time for that statement and it was potentially damaging not just for Fauquier County wineries, but other wineries around the state. It made the conversation not about whether or not the ordinance being considered was appropriate, but whether or not the Jim Law way is the ONLY way. Great conversation to have, wrong forum.
The Bloggers Resolve Not to React to Fauquier Bombshells Like Joe Pesci with Sandy Cheeks by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.