Which of the following happened as a result of Napa Valley being established as an “Agricultural Preserve”?

A. The minimum size of a vineyard increased, in order to limit “hobby vineyards”

B. Vineyards could finally be established in mountain areas surrounding the valley proper

C. Vineyards, rather than farms, received preferential permits

D. Commercial development was restricted in favor of all forms of agriculture


In 1968, the Napa County Board of Supervisors passed a landmark zoning ordinance that made Napa Valley the first Agricultural Preserve in the United States. The Ag Preserve, as it is known, mandated agriculture as the “highest and best” use of Napa Valley land. The effect of the ordinance was to severely restrict commercial development not directly-related to agriculture. As visitors discover, with the exception of the small town of Napa itself, there are no strip malls or department store complexes in the valley proper. Instead, Napa Valley is home to 40,000+ acres of beautiful vineyards, and the picturesque rural landscape remains intact. As for the other possible answers, there is no minimum size of a vineyard in the Napa Valley. (You can plant one thousand vines; you can plant ten vines. There is no minimum). Many vineyards are very small and 95% are family owned. Regarding mountains, vineyards have existed in the mountains around Napa Valley for well over a hundred years. Today, however, forest land is tightly protected in the valley, and planting on steep slopes is prohibited. As a practical and legal matter, it’s extremely difficult to plant a vineyard from scratch in the mountains. And finally, while vineyards are the dominant form of agriculture in the valley, all types of agriculture are welcomed (except for commercially-grown cannabis, which is not allowed).

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