Judge re-affirms order preventing winery’s cave tastings

2013-04-21T19:34:00Z 2013-04-22T00:51:23Z Judge re-affirms order preventing winery’s cave tastingsKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
April 21, 2013 7:34 pm  • 

A Napa County Superior Court judge has ordered a winery in Wooden Valley to stop offering wine tastings and other operations until further notice.

Judge J. Michael Byrne on Thursday ordered Frank and Karen Altamura of Altamura Winery to obtain their necessary permits from Napa County officials.

Until April 29, the Altamuras are only allowed to go into the winery and the cave at 1701 Wooden Valley Road to maintain their wines, according to the court filing.

Byrne’s injunction re-affirms a previous order that restrains the defendants from using the cave and the winery until permitting issues are resolved. The next hearing is May 20.

The legal case began in March when Napa County officials filed a complaint against the Altamuras alleging various violations, including allowing the public to enter the cave for wine tastings without the necessary permits. County officials last fall ordered all public wine tastings and public tours stopped but the activities allegedly continued, according to the complaint.

The Altamuras and Napa County officials, including county Deputy Planning Director John McDowell and county Chief Building Official Darrell Mayes were in court last week over Byrne’s restraining order barring them from using the winery and the cave. But the proceedings stopped Monday when the Altamuras agreed to cease all operations until all alleged violations are corrected and the permits obtained, according to the court minutes. The preliminary injunction Byrne signed Thursday affirms an earlier order issued March 21.

Under the new order, the Altamuras have to obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy for the winery by April 29.

One issue raised in court proceedings were whether or not tanks inside the cave needed to be strapped out for seismic safety. The Altamuras agree to install the attachments to the tank by Friday, April 26.

On April 9, lawyers for the Altamuras argued their clients had the proper permits while county officials alleged they did not.

Altamura Vineyards and Winery was established in 1985, according to the company’s website.

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(2) Comments

  1. glenroy
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    glenroy - April 24, 2013 5:28 am
    The sad but typical situation under liberalism…. violations have a history of not being, not even exiting in many if not most citations, which leads to the core issue, seeking fines to feed bloated staffs.
    We were held up months costing tens of thousands while the building dept, city, demanded ridiculous improvements, lying about code requirements/exemptions, reluctantly they were forced to provide us exemptions which the counter staff redacted claiming there were no exemptions then 'another new code'.. then they 'delay the final’ months on end. If it were not for the ADA advisor service, obtaining un-redacted exemptions we may have lost a few hundred more local jobs….
    The modus is drive up costs, illegally if they have to by redact exemptions and claiming violations that know don’t exist, so you end up spending big bucks fighting multiple depts as they work together to grind you down…or you stand up like Altamura is doing.
    Bending over doesn’t appeal much around here...
  2. mdeus
    Report Abuse
    mdeus - April 24, 2013 10:03 pm
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