County sues two wineries, citing inadequate permits

2013-05-06T10:14:00Z 2013-06-02T17:03:19Z County sues two wineries, citing inadequate permitsKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
May 06, 2013 10:14 am  • 

Two Upvalley wineries have attracted the wrath of Napa County officials who allege the companies do not have the proper permits, according to separate complaints filed in Napa County Superior Court.

County officials allege the owners of Kelham Vineyards and Winery LLC, erected structures on the property at 360 Zinfandel Lane south of St. Helena without the proper permits, according to the complaint filed April 23.

Kelham Vineyards and Winery is conducting wine tastings and tours although it does not have a certificate of occupancy for the winery, tasting room, fermentation building and storage warehouse, the complaint alleged.

On Friday, Kelham owner Susanna Kelham declined to comment.  

In the second case, Napa County officials allege William Cole Vineyards LLC at 2849 St. Helena Highway, north near St. Helena, does not have a certificate of occupancy for its 20,000 gallon-a-year winery, according to the complaint filed April 22.

In addition, no commercial permit was issued for the winery built on the bottom floor of a historic three-story building, Napa County officials allege in their complaint.

The winery’s submitted plans were incomplete, according to the complaint. Also, the winery project was not in compliance with the terms of its use permit, according to the court filing.

The winery also allegedly conducts wine tastings and events on the property without having the certificate of occupancy, the complaint alleges.

Over the years, county staff have issued warnings and letters regarding the project, including a stop work order in April 2012 that was issued after the defendants worked on a parking lot installed over the septic system without a permit, according to the court filing filed by Napa County.

A winery representative did not return a call requesting comment.

William and Jane Ballentine bought the 19th century winery in 1999, according to the company’s website. The winery had been closed since Prohibition, according to the website. William Cole Vineyards opened in 2004.

In both winery cases, Napa County officials are seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against the wineries, according to court documents. Each winery faces up to $1,000 a day in civil penalties and may have to pay county staff time and court costs, according to the filings.

Case management conferences for both Kelham Vineyards and Winery and William Cole Vineyards are scheduled for Oct. 1.

Napa County officials recently obtained a court order against Altamura Winery in the 1700 block of Wooden Valley Road to stop offering tours and wine tastings after alleging in a complaint the winery does not have the proper permits, according to court records. The next hearing is May 20.

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(3) Comments

  1. bluecollardoctor
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    bluecollardoctor - May 07, 2013 8:37 am
    I hope they are allowed to keep doing business until they get due process and work this out.
  2. Normbc9
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    Normbc9 - May 10, 2013 6:37 am
    It is gratifying to learn that there is an actual enforcement of the existing codes and regulations. Kudo's to the county officials who followed through with this.
  3. glenroy
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    glenroy - May 10, 2013 4:23 pm
    So we know a little about this game of extortion….even though everything we did was agreed to first by the Supervisors, Planning Dept and finally the Building Dept who issued permits when required….27 year later the county sends us a grossly inflated assessment, some $300,000.00 for a tempt $12,000 horse barn shell…thousands of dollars in fines and a letter that would be fraud claiming 'you don’t do anything until you hear from us'…you only have 30 days from the time that letter is sent otherwise you cannot even contest whatever they are claiming...' If this was a business they would be charged with extortion.
    The county has no record of the removed building included a home and enclosed storage carport, a machine shop and 2 storage buildings all total over 6,000sqft, we replaced 1,200 with temporary storage…for that they are claiming tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes..


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