There is a movement currently to break the state of California into six separate states. Read more about the plan here. I could see some positives to the plan such as bringing law creation to a smaller group of people. Let’s face it what works for Napa doesn’t always work for San Diego and bringing this hugely fragmented demographic into agreement takes equally huge amounts of negotiation. I highly doubt that this will get much farther than it already has but it definitely got my wheels turning thinking about the consequences of such a movement on our industry. If one only considers the ramifications to the wine industry one quickly realizes the impossibility of this plan.
1) Say goodbye to “California” Appellated wine. This is by far and away the most important issue that this plan will bring up. Political AVAs are defined by political boundaries therefore anything grown in the Central Valley would have to be listed as “Central California”. You also can not blend wines from multiple states without losing all appellations and just calling it American. Gone would be the days of mixing Central Valley and Central Coast wines (split into two states, Silicon Valley and West California) and it probably would drive further industry out of the Central Valley.
2) What happens to regional AVAs that span multiple states? Under this plan, both the North Coast and the Central Coast will be spread over two states. Will they end up like Carneros and be defined as the AVA only or will you have to say North Coast – Jefferson or North Coast – North California, which in a way kind of defeats the purpose of the North Coast appellation.
3) Water. Some of the most populated proposed states don’t have their own water sources. Water has already become a huge issue between counties. What would the motivation be for states with water to share it if their own people needed it?
4) Distribution. With six states brings opportunity for six new different distribution laws. Maybe one of the states decides to go to a control state like Pennsylvania.
On the positive side, maybe we can petition to change the name of the state currently suggested to be called Northern California into Wineland? It might be more appropriate considering Silicon Valley gets to keep its pop culture name.
Seriously, this is a crazy plan. Hopefully calmer heads prevail.