The Trefethen family has received approval to build a new 30,000 gallon winery near its existing winery on Oak Knoll Avenue.
The Napa County Planning Commission approved the winery Wednesday morning. Commissioners Bob Fiddaman, Terry Scott and Mike Basayne voted to approve it, while Commissioners Matt Pope and Heather Phillips were absent.
The winery will be located north of Oak Knoll and west of Big Ranch Road, with only four employees, and up to 20 visitors per day.
Trefethen advertises its main winery as being tucked away on Oak Knoll, and that will continue with its new one, which will have a similar access route.
The Trefethens agreed to subject the winery to the standards of the county’s proposed Climate Action Plan, which has not been adopted yet. Their new winery was small enough to be categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, which would also exempt it from the plan.
Rob Anglin, a Napa attorney working on the project, told the commission that it’s rare to see winery projects that are CEQA-exempt.
“We like having it small,” Anglin said.
Still, the Trefethens had no trouble complying with the proposed plan’s 38 percent reduction of the project’s estimated emissions. By using 100 percent solar energy, conserving energy and installing an electric vehicle charging stations, the winery was able to meet the reduction requirement even though it didn’t have too.
“We’re not going to stand here and say that rule doesn’t apply to us,” Anglin told the commission. “Sustainability is on everybody’s mind these days. It’s on our minds too.”
Planning Director Hillary Gitelman said it was a coincidence this project came before the commission a week before the Climate Action Plan was set to go to the Napa County Board of Supervisors. The plan goes to the board next Tuesday for a vote on approval, armed with an example of one winery project that had no trouble with meeting its proposed requirements.
“I’m happy that happened,” Gitelman said.
“Coincidence is everything,” replied Basayne.
The project earned praise from the other commissioners.
“This is the way we should be going in our valley,” Fiddaman said of the project’s environmentally friendly aspects. “It should be a great addition to Napa Valley.”