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Santa Maria is blessed — in fact, abundantly blessed — with gorgeous scenery, fertile soil and magnificent weather. We have some mighty fine people, too.

All of those elements were on brilliant display at the recent grand opening of the newly completed Presqu’ile Winery.

For the record, it is pronounced “press-keel.” Presqu’ile is owned and operated by the Murphy family. They are some of the mighty fine people we have living around here.

The Presqu’ile Winery includes a new tasting room in which to sample the fine wines Dieter Cronje crafts from our Santa Maria Valley grapes.

Alongside acres of certified sustainably farmed wine grapes sits an outdoor amphitheater, horseshoe pit, bocce ball court, and a terrace from which splendid views of our beautiful valley can be enjoyed.

The glorious Santa Maria Valley views are complimented by the stunning architecture of the facility and the manner in which it merges with the land upon which it sits. The inside of the facility is as impressive as the outside amenities.

Presqu’ile promises to “bring our heritage, pursuit of excellence, affinity for the land and the motto: If we aren't having fun, why bother?”

Without a doubt, the promise was fulfilled at the opening. A good time was had by all. Later this month, the general public can begin enjoying the fun to be had in the magical atmosphere that Presqu’ile has created.

The Presqu’ile tasting room is the most recent addition to an impressive lineup of tasting rooms listed on the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country website, including these exceptional establishments — Cambria Winery & Vineyards, Costa de Oro Winery, CORE Wine Company, Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery, Foxen Winery, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Rancho Sisquoc Vineyard & Winery, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Sierra Madre Vineyard, and Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery.

Our local vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms capitalize upon our fertile soil and perfect weather. They also attract visitors to our area. Visitors infuse dollars into our local economy, making it stronger. A stronger economy leads to greater job creation. In turn, that leads to increased tax revenues, something badly needed in our county.

But hear this — we do not need new taxes or higher taxes to increase tax revenues. Included among the taxes that should not be raised is transient occupancy tax, which Supervisor Lavagnino recently indicated an interest in raising. A higher TOT could slow the growth of local tourism, the future prospects of which our local wineries help make so bright.

Our local wineries and the tourism dollars they generate represent an important part of our area’s economic future, a fact made manifestly clear by the large number of out-of-town guests who attended the Presqu’ile opening.

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Everyone should take note of the fact that the Presqu’ile opening came after over four years were spent processing applications, completing environmental review, obtaining Planning Commission approval, securing building permits and completing construction.

In excess of four years to do something that benefits everyone? That is obscene.

All of us should thank the Murphy family for their perseverance. And all of us should resolve to do what must be done to make sure no one else is forced to endure similar delays. Likely, this will require electing some new people as county supervisors, beginning in 2014 in the 2nd District.

We will leave politics for another column at another time. For now, we will celebrate the opening of the Presqu’ile Winery, where the most is being made of our abundant blessings. Pay a visit and take a peek into our economic future.

Trent Benedetti is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Improve North County and a long-time local business owner.