Official from wine group likens a tribal casino to 'foreign nation'

Welcome sign in Napa Valley, California. Photo from Stan Shebs / Wikipedia

Officials in California's wine country are raising fears of a tribal casino even though there are no concrete plans for one.

The Mishewal Wappo Tribe, whose aboriginal territory includes wine-producing areas, is suing to regain federal recognition. The process will take years even if the case is successful.

Nevertheless, Rex Stults of the Napa Valley Vintners is worried about a casino. "It's like inviting a foreign nation into the county,' he told Wine Searcher. "Fifty years of observing the agricultural preserve would go right out the window."

Napa County supervisor Diane Dillon voices similar concerns. But the source of her fear comes from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians -- whose casino is located more than 330 miles away.

"Do you think the local government would allow this to happen in Bordeaux?" Dillon told Wine Searcher, referring to the wine-producing region in France -- an urban area whose population topped 1.1 million in January 2011, according to Wikipedia.

"I don't think so. We have something unique in Napa," Dillon added. "What we want to sell is wine, not gambling chips."

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