A new, small winery is to be located in a converted barn at the end of a one-lane, private road far from the Napa Valley wine country hub.
The Morgan family won county Planning Commission approval to establish Shed Creek Winery. Their 287-acre property is in Gordon Valley along the county’s southeast corner, far more easily reached from Suisun Valley in Solano County than from the Napa Valley.
Shed Creek Winery will be able to produce 5,000 gallons annually and have up to 15 visitors daily. It will have 10 annual marketing events for up to 30 people apiece and one for up to 100 people.
“It’s a very lovely, remote property,” Commissioner Terry Scott said at Wednesday’s hearing. “It’s on the very edge of our county. I hope more people have an opportunity to really appreciate the beauty it provides and the unique environment that exists there.”
Robert Morgan, son of applicant William Morgan, described a new winery that will be old-school. He, rather than a consultant, addressed the commission.
“We want to get back to what started Napa Valley: a family-owned winery and a family-owned vineyard,” Morgan said.
Neighbors expressed concern about having winery visitors driving on a shared, private road past their farming operations. They asked the Morgans to take financial responsibility for improving Grapevine Lane and assume liability for visitors who harm or destroy property.
“Not that we’re against the winery,” neighbor Patty Abruzzini Flannery said. “We just want to make sure we have a road agreement in writing, prior to.”
Robert Morgan said his family has owned the Gordon Valley property for 40 years. The family and its neighbors have been to weddings and celebrations together. The family is willing to fix and maintain the road.
“We don’t want to impact the way of life we have out there,” he said.
Commissioner Anne Cottrell wanted the parties to work out a road agreement prior to commission approval. But her colleagues didn’t want the Morgans to have to return to the commission at a later date.
“A formal agreement on the road — it can and should be worked out with the neighborhood,” Scott said. “You’ve lived beside each other for 40 years. I think you’ll be able to work it out.”
Scott then asked for legal advice on a neighborhood road agreement.
“That’s purely a private matter between the parties,” Deputy County Counsel Laura Anderson said. “It’s not something we can condition or require them to do. We can encourage them, like you’ve done, but that’s the extent of it.”
Shed Creek Winery is to be located at 80 Grapevine Lane. The project involves converting a 700-square-foot barn into the winery, including a 250-square-foot tasting room.