Californian Tribe Battles Vineyard Owner for Land Rights
Winemakers in California’s Napa Valley are worried about the possibility of a Las Vegas-style casino opening in the area. Wine makers and county officials are resisting the proposed gambling resort from the Mishewal Wappo Tribe of Alexander Valley.Wine makers want to preserve the land and environment that give unique properties to its wine. As a result a Californian tribe is suing the US for federal recognition; this would allow it to avoid local zoning restrictions.
Janet Viader of Viader Vineyards & Winery says, “We’re not against them getting recognition, what we don’t like is the threat of the exact type of development that we’ve been saying ‘no’ to for 60 years. We’re about protecting the right to grow agriculture and continue our trade.”
The leaders of the Wappo tribe say they are looking to restore the federal status they lost in 1958.
Recognition of this status would allow the tribe to pursue economic development, such as a casino, without needing community approval.
Opponents to a casino point to a Napa County ordinance that gives priority to agricultural land use and discourages large-scale development. They contest the tribe’s right to purchase land and use it for their own purposes.