Napa winery plays with fire in criticizing fire fighters
April 19, 2010
In a reminder as to why many people prefer to remain anonymous in posting comments, particularly those criticizing public servants, a Napa Valley winery has become the target of an intense boycott by local fire fighters–over a Letter to the Editor. [Watch on Sonoma County]
The letter, written by Dario Sattui, owner of V. Sattui Winery, criticized the wage and benefits package of North Bay firefighters. Published in the St. Helena Star, Sattui’s letter argued, “While I respect the work they do and the inherent dangers, they are greatly overpaid, work only two days a week (a third of which they sleep) and get to retire at 50 years old at 90 percent of their pay after working 30 years.”
Reaction was swift to the April 9th letter. The political director for the Santa Rosa fire fighters union spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, resulting in an avalanche of negative comments being posted on the winery’s Facebook page.
The social networks were also used to call for a boycott of the St. Helena winery. One Facebook page supporting a boycott, set up by a Ukiah paramedic, quickly boasted more than 800 fans.
“I only hope that when your winery is burning down, no fire fighters come to help your business,” one post read. “I hope your business rots in hell in this economy.”
A different Facebook page, entitled “V Sattui Wine Tastes Like Raw Sewage” suggested the winery was engaged in “strange labor practices.”
“Public Safety people who want to stay healthy, and their supporters, should probably avoid V. Sattui wines to avoid gagging as they drink,” suggested another post.
Another post, made by the vice-president of the Santa Rosa Police Officers’ Association, featured a photo of the vintner with the caption, “Our hero…should anyone get flagged down by him or see him choking in a restaurant.”
The photo and caption were abruptly taken down.