Sonoma County WInery Events

Sonoma County Planning Commission Winery Events Ordinance Virtual Public Hearing

Thursday, February 17, 1:00 pm

The Sonoma County Planning Commission will hold a virtual public hearing on Thursday, February 17 at 1:00 pm to hear the draft Winery Events Ordinance that was continued in June and July of 2021. This ordinance would set new standards for winery events/business activities.

Sonoma County Vintners strongly encourages you to participate in this important meeting. The draft ordinance is posted on the County of Sonoma website.

This effort is a countywide initiative and Sonoma County Vintners has been extremely active in engaging and advocating with county officials regarding winery events/business activities and we encourage all of our member wineries to register, participate and provide feedback. The agenda for the virtual Planning Commission hearing and meeting materials will be posted one week prior to the hearing on the County of Sonoma Planning Commission calendar.

Participate in the Winery Events Ordinance Public Hearing

The public hearing will be conducted via video conference only, without a physical location.

Talking Points

For your convenience, the following is information for you to reference when addressing the Planning Commission officials at the winery events ordinance public hearing. You are welcome to, and we encourage you to, share any of the following talking points.

  • Like many Sonoma County businesses, our wine community has faced the challenges of wildfires, smoke exposure, floods, power shutoffs, diminished tourism and many catastrophic pandemic impacts.
  • Our Sonoma County Wine community is a major employer and contributor to the Sonoma County economy.
  • With ingenuity, creativity, flexibility and amazing effort, our wine community has survived; however, we cannot survive more regulation that is neither warranted nor necessary.
  • Our wine community plays a crucial role in this community as it is involved in and supports significant philanthropic activity, including hundreds of non-profit charitable organizations throughout Sonoma County.
  • Over the past five years, wine wholesale and distribution consolidation, and the ability of wineries to gain wholesale distribution across the country, has greatly diminished. With this, wineries are required to market directly to consumers in order to simply survive and sell their wines.
  • Sonoma County Code Enforcement reports extremely minimal complaints related to winery activities and those few have been easily resolved with communication.
    Request that the Winery Guidance and Definitions developed by Sonoma County Vintners be incorporated into any draft recommendation or ordinance to be presented and considered by the Board of Supervisors.
  • Planning and permitting should focus on compliance with planning documents and the mitigation of impacts. Wineries are subject to the general plan and the zoning code which clearly identify the facility capacity to address hours of operation, traffic, parking, sanitation and noise.
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