This ancient vineyard needs to remain intact as a living museum for our world renowned California wine industry now, and to inspire our future winemakers and viticulturists.
This vineyard preserves a natural pre-historic sand-dune within this wetlands restoration project as open space. This open space enhances the overall wetlands project and the Bay-Delta ecosystem. Historically, these habitats were also a dominant feature in and around the wetland regions.
The Emerson Vineyard provides a starting point for future vineyard preservation projects and gives a civic identity to the City of Oakley. Development in and around other ancient vineyards in the future could be done in a way that preserves the vines and rural character that they provide. This could make Oakley a more desirable location to live, which may spur higher end hosing and therefore higher tax base.
Preserving this historic vineyard would show that the City of Oakley is interested in the quality of life not only for its citizens, but for the environment as well. The DWR’s focus on habitat is important but this vineyard is very special and unique. Because this vineyard is non-irrigated and is farmed sustainably, it is a model that will show that we can coexist within our environment and can show the public and future generations farmers how we need to live and grow.
This ancient vineyard, because of its historic and scientific value, will be and interesting and educational focal point for the public to see as they wander through the restored wet lands. There is also interest in providing an education opportunity to middle and high school children, this would expose them to an agricultural experience.
Future Uses of the Vineyard
This vineyard could be used to generate revenue.
Volunteer docents from 501(c)(3) organizations such as The American Wine Society, The Historical Vineyard Society, and others should be willing to provide pre-scheduled on-sight tours since these organizations have and educational purpose in their by-laws. These tours could coincide with either the Heart of Oakley Festival or the harvest Festival. Local growers and winemakers that are utilizing Oakley fruit should also be willing to educate the public about the value of old vines
The vineyard can be the focal point of a community park that focuses on our local agricultural roots. A “community farm” can be built on part of the property around the Emerson Dairy that will be acquired as a result of the development. The local agricultural industry and grocery store chains might be interested in corporate sponsorship of a “community farm”.
Local 4H Chapters can conduct pruning demonstration projects teaching the art of spur pruning on head trained vines. Then conducting a fun “pruning competition” with the project attendees.
Produce a community wine label that can be used for local events.
The Vineyard site could be used for charity events on a limited basis such as a catered lunch with wine tasting.