The Napa County vote on the hotly contested Measure C, an initiative that seeks to limit vineyard development, remained too close to call Wednesday morning, as only 40 votes separated the two sides.
With 168 of 170 precincts reporting, the count was 7,188 for and 7,148 against Measure C, more formally known as the Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative.
Voting officials said between 40% and 60% of the ballots remained to be counted. Napa County Registrar of Voters, John Tuteur, expected the next set of preliminary results to be released later this week.
The election results must be certified by June 25.
“I’m holding my breath,” said Ralph Hertelendy, founder and vintner of Hertelendy Napa Valley, who has lobbied against the measure, fearing its passage would price small producers like himself out of Napa Valley.
The initiative seeks to curb vineyard development on the hillsides that border the Napa Valley to the east and west, allowing no more than 795 acres of oak trees to be removed in land zoned as an agricultural watershed.