|Oct 23, 2015|
Another winery has been proposed on Soda Canyon Road. It is to be a 25000 gal/yr, 3800 visitors/yr winery, 20 trips/day.
Like the two other wineries that have been built on the road in the last few years, The Caves at Soda Canyon and Relic Wine Cellars, the Grassi's have proposed a small capacity winery with modest amount of visitation. Unlike those, this winery is on a homestead with grapes and can truly be labeled a "family" winery. Its eventual impacts may be little different than the very low profile White Rock Vineyards, established in the 70's, the oldest active winery on the road.
But the difficulty that we face here is the same difficulty that the county faces as a whole - individual projects may be modest but if they just keep coming, as more and more properties are commercialized, the cumulative impact of a steady stream of visitors in and out of driveways and the nightly intrusion of light and noise from events will change the nature of a place that is has until now been a remote rural community. Small wineries would be more welcome if developers accept that their residential neighbors are not interested in tourist activities next door. The economic calculation to build the winery needs to be based on sales strategies that don't depend on visitation. There are many examples of successful wineries that have no visitation (I usually cite Screaming Eagle) but the Roy Estate winery almost next door is an excellent example.
This project does have the advantage of being near the Trail. But as I have written about elsewhere, the density of winery development especially at the Soda Canyon junction is also becoming a issue in the survival of the Trail as a scenic highway.
We will continue to follow the project, as it develops, here.
2/1/17: Planning Commission Agenda and Documents
County Grassi page
NVR 2/6/17: Napa County approves new family winery
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