For 40 years, the Friends of Open Space and Vineyards (FOV) have worked to permanently protect open space and agricultural lands within the Tri-Valley region. The group, which is 100% run by volunteers, collaborates with other groups with similar goals to preserve the Tri-Valley's landscapes and agricultural resources for the future as well as promote local vineyards and wineries.
"We are dedicated to preserving and enhancing the Livermore Valley area as one of California's most historic and premium wine-growing regions," according to the nonprofit. "FOV vigorously promotes the area through programs, projects, and activities. Vineyards are an important part of the heritage of the Livermore Valley; grapes thrive in its gravelly soil and moderate Mediterranean climate. This picturesque setting is home to over 60 wineries and numerous grape growers.
"We encourage support for the valley wineries and grape growers. We work to ensure the preservation of the viticultural lands in what has become known as the ‘Fertile Crescent' south of Livermore and east of Pleasanton. This valuable resource must not be allowed to slip away to encroaching development. It is an important asset of the Livermore Valley, the East Bay Area, and the State of California."
Recently FOV has worked to protect Tesla Park from off-road vehicles. Tesla Park includes at least 42 threatened, endangered, and special status wildlife species and over 20 locally rare plant species. It has also worked on campaigns in Dublin and Livermore, according to Norman Petermeier, FOV Board Vice President.
Among other things, FOV conducts hospitality classes for the wine industry as part of the group's community educational programs that promote the Tri-Valley Region. "Our support of the Las Positas College Viticulture and Winery Technology Program serves our goal to help train future wine industry leaders," Petermeier says. "We listen to the community and what they consider important and try to support their ideas and goals."
The nonprofit began in 1981 as Save the Vineyards. Concerned volunteers were worried that Tri-Valley development would push out local vineyards and wineries. The group helped create the South Livermore Valley Area Plan, adopted in 1993, to ensure orderly development of the largest wine-growing region in Alameda County. FOV also supported County Measure D, which was adopted by the voters in 2000. Measure D revised the urban growth boundary of eastern Alameda County, ensuring the preservation and enlargement of the vineyard and winery area and limiting development outside of city boundaries.
FOV is currently planning a walking hike in Sycamore Park to see the new Valley Trail Connection bridge and a Twilight Tasting at Page Mill Winery in Livermore on October 7. Funds raised at the wine tasting will be used to support the Viticulture and Winery Technology Program at Las Positas College. Both events will conform to Covid-19 state and county guidelines in place at the time of the events.
For more information about Friends of Open Space and Vineyards, please visit www.fov.org.