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Winemaker proposes Napa Valley hiking trail

A 22-mile hiking and biking trail though the Napa Valley has been proposed by a local winemaker to boost the region’s tourism industry.

Chuck McMinn, owner of the Vineyard 29 winery, is spearheading a grassroots effort to make the trail a reality through the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition (NVVTC).

A runner himself, McMinn says the project will take several years to complete, but that it would be an asset to the valley.

‘The route will show off the greatness of this valley both to visitors and locals,’ he said.

Two potential routes are being investigated – one along the Napa River, and another among the vineyards. The plan calls for no vineyard land to be taken out of production and all land-use agreements to be voluntary.

A feasibility study, commissioned by the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency, for a trail from Vallejo, in a neighboring county, to Calistoga in northern Napa, was completed earlier this month. The NVVTC is proposing to implement a 22-mile portion of the trail, from Napa to Calistoga. The projected cost of the project is US$22m.

McMinn said he hopes to get at least 50% from federal and state sources, and expects to raise the rest from private sources.

‘I’m convinced that the majority of the privately-raised capital will come from locals, he said. ‘The valley deserves it.’

Written by Janice Fuhrman

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