Dave Farley | dfarley@bcwood.com
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas…
Now that the US midterm elections are done, the rest of the planet gets a nice two-day break before the 2020 election race begins! Our neighbors to the South do like their elections.
Following the last Wood Connections where we reviewed Lake Tahoe, I wanted to have a quick look at the Napa/ Sonoma market of Northern California. As with Tahoe, this region is a market dependent upon tourism as driver of its economy and both draw from the affluent population base of the San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley market.
Where they differ is while Tahoe focuses on the recreational market, Napa is all about the wine. This region is blessed with a unique blend of weather and soil that make it perfect for growing grapes and therefore wine.
Market opportunities for BC Industry in this market vary, but generally focus on the supply of mass timber and finished products for the 400+ wineries and tasting rooms spread across the region. Nearly all the wineries in Napa/Sonoma are high-end and have elaborate, well designed tasting rooms attached to the production facility. Timber fits exceptionally well into the design aesthetic of the Napa Valley which many attribute to the vision of Howard Backen, an influential architect in the region. The architectural firm he created, Backen Gillem Kroeger (with offices in St Helena and Sausalito), is still a prominent influencer for Napa style architecture.
Another opportunity exists for BC Industry but for a somewhat more ominous reason. The dry, arid conditions that are great for the growing of grapes also create perfect conditions for fires. In fact, over the past number of years, Napa/Sonoma has been under attack with devastating wildfires throughout the region. Well over 8200 dwellings have been lost to fire in the Napa Valley over the past few years. This combined with the current shortage of skilled trades in the region has provided an opportunity for BC pre-built housing manufacturers, including Linwood and Pacific Homes, who have experienced significant growth throughout Wine Country.
For those interested, BC Wood will organize a mission to Napa/Sonoma to meet with key builders, architects and distributors in this market. The mission will be part of our participation at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) scheduled for mid June 2019. As always, please feel free to contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com.