The owners of a winery in Wooden Valley have to remove wine barrels from a cave built in the mid-1990s, according to a court order filed last week in Napa County Superior Court.
Napa County sued the owners of Altamura Vineyards and Winery at 1701 Wooden Valley Road, alleging there was no certificate of occupancy for either the winery or the cave.
On May 23, after reviewing plans and letters dating back to the 1990s, Judge J. Michael Byrne said the lack of a certificate of occupancy for the cave was a public safety concern. He ordered Frank and Karen Altamura to cease all use and occupancy of the cave. The Altamuras had been using the cave to store wine and host wine tastings.
After the hearing, Deputy County Counsel Carrie Gallagher said the judge’s order was effective immediately. Attorney Teresa Cunningham, who represented the Altamuras, declined to comment.
In court, Cunningham argued that the winery’s use permit obtained in the 1990s covered the winery and the cave. But Gallagher said it did not, noting that no detailed plans were submitted to the county for review.
The order was issued as the parties prepare for trial, the date for which could be set at the next hearing, Aug. 27. Last week’s hearing focused on the cave, not the winery building.
In April, the judge ordered the Altamuras to obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy for the winery building to continue to produce wine. The certificate, good for 90 days, could be extended, according to the county.