Wineries

Two small wineries allowed more visitors, production

‘They want to see the winery,’ owner says
2013-07-21T15:30:00Z 2013-07-21T15:32:42Z Two small wineries allowed more visitors, productionPETER JENSEN Napa Valley Register
July 21, 2013 3:30 pm  • 

An Angwin-area winery will increase its production from 5,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons annually, while a winery near Calistoga has approval to have up to 126 visitors per week.

The Napa County Planning Commission approved both changes during its meeting Wednesday.

Dunn Vineyards, located on a 39-acre parcel on White Cottage Road, received a small winery use permit exception for 5,000 gallons of production in 1982, prior to the adoption of the winery definition ordinance.

The winery started out in the basement of a house shared by owner Randy Dunn and his wife, and a 6,000-square-foot wine cave was built seven years later.

Dunn produced about 13,000 gallons in 2012, and the use permit will increase that maximum to 20,000 gallons annually, according to a county staff report. Visitation will grow from one person per week to 20 people each week.

Dunn’s original 5,000 gallons is exempt from the winery definition ordinance’s 75-percent rule, which stipulates that Napa wine be made with at least 75 percent Napa grapes. The expansion — the next 15,000 gallons — will be subject to that rule, but Dunn plans to comply, said Chris Cahill of the Napa County Planning Department.

The Planning Commission also approved Araujo Estate Wines’ request to increase its visitation on Pickett Road near Calistoga from a maximum of 25 people per week to 18 people per day.

The shift reflects a need for the winery’s customers to be able to view the winemaking process, Daphne Araujo told the commission. The winery does all its business via mailing lists, but since 2008 it’s seen a burgeoning desire among its customer base to come to its Pickett Road location, Araujo said.

“They want to see the winery,” Araujo said. “They want to see the vineyard. They want to meet us. For us it’s very flattering.”

The revised marketing plan also boasts food and wine pairings that include four 24-person events per month, but the winery can’t have more than 12 of these events per year.

It received approval for two 80-person events annually, and one 125-person event related to Auction Napa Valley. The winery will be hiring nine more full-time employees to handle the additional traffic and visitation.

Commissioner Bob Fiddaman said he didn’t perceive the increased visitation as unreasonable, considering the other wineries and the Silver Rose Inn Spa & Winery Resort in the Pickett Road area.

“There’s going to be some other activity in that area,” Fiddaman said. “This is not going to be a traffic issue. I’ve long considered you among the very best in terms of how you manage your operations.”

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