More On Westover Winery.

Westover-Wine-Grapes---ROH The other day we wrote a post on Westover Winery in California having to close because the state of California had fined the company for failing to pay volunteers.

Our thoughts got picked up by Walter Olson over at

In the comments that followed at Overlawyered is this from William Smyth who wrote:

I am the owner of the winery.

I have cancer and have had five surgeries in five years. I left a corporate job to deal with my cancer in 2010. My life expectancy is probably another six years.

The only reason I kept the winery going was for the fun and passion of those who wanted to volunteer and their friendship. I am closing the winery to spend time with both of my parents who are in the last years of their life and they are very ill at this point. I also want to deal with my cancer. The fines were probably more than what the entire winery was worth. The fines made my final decisions easy. We are talking about a business that is only open 10 hours per week total. We did not need any of the volunteers.

My wife and I could handle it alone. This was not about money, it was about passion. By the way, one of my volunteers made everything worth it, she later became my wife.

Smyth used his passion for wines and wine making to start a small winery. His passion was and is contagious, drawing in people who wanted to help and devote their time while learning wine business. Those volunteers became passionate as well. Probably none of them will ever own a winery but yet felt volunteering at Westover helped meet their passion with good friends and others who were just as passionate.

Westover should never have to close. California should realize the folly of their position and let this end. It is as if the “passion” of enforcement officers is not to enhance the enjoyment of the lives of those volunteering their own time, talent and labor, but rather to crush such passion in order to get tax dollars.

Mr. Smyth and the Westover Winery legacy will be much more positive. He, his wife and his business will be long remembered by those who knew him, volunteered to work with him and shared his passion.

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