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Calistoga solidifies policy to limit tasting rooms

From the Napa Valley Wine Insider Digest: Feb. 20, 2021 series
Calistoga tasting rooms

There are currently 12 tasting rooms on the books in downtown Calistoga. The city has drafted a policy to impose limits and conditions on future tasting rooms.

The City of Calistoga has formally adopted a policy to limit the number of new wine tasting rooms each year to two per calendar year.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the city council unanimously agreed to allow a total of 12 wine tasting storefronts on Lincoln Avenue, and 18 in the downtown commercial district, including two storefronts along Washington Street.

A secondary use requirement was also adopted, requiring 25% of the tasting room, preferably in the front of the store, for another use, such as non-wine related retail, and to be local-serving.

The resolution, rather than an ordinance, does not change the city’s zoning code, but will provide clarity to city statutes and guidelines for city officials when considering future tasting room applications. Existing standards within the code will remain in place.

The resolution also provides a more general “tasting room’ definition to include the possibility of, for example, a whisky tasting operation.

The last time the city considered new tasting room standards was in 2015 and nothing was resolved at that time, staff said.

Earlier this year, the Calistoga Planning Commission recommended revising the current standards in an effort to been to provide consistent approaches in permitting and regulating tasting room uses while maintaining a balance and diversity of commercial development.

Currently there are 10 tasting rooms downtown, with one more recently approved. The policy will limit the number in the entire town to 26.

Under the policy, that number would be relatively easy to adjust should the situation arise, said Planning Director Zac Tusinger, adding the city usually gets an average of one tasting room application per year.

Mayor Chris Canning noted the policy could affect commercial property owners by eliminating possible tenants.

Councilmember Don Williams said he had received 15 emails from residents and 11 were supportive of the measure.

The measure passed unanimously, with Councilmember Lisa Gift abstaining due to a possible conflict of interest.


12 bottles of French Bordeaux wine have come back down to Earth after spending a year on the International Space Station. Along with the bottles of wine, hundreds of snippets of grapevines also spent a year orbiting the Earth. This was part of an experiment run by Luxembourg startup Space Cargo Unlimited. In February, the company will host a wine tasting with some of France’s top connoisseurs and experts. Researchers will then conduct chemical testing to see how time in space affected the wine. Our goal is to tackle the solution of how we’re going to have an agriculture tomorrow that is both organic and healthy... and we think space has the key, Nicolas Gaume, Space Cargo Unlimited CEO. Through its experiments, Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to create more robust and resilient plants on Earth


You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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