The St. Helena Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a use permit for a distillery on Fulton Lane.
John Hardesty of Hundred Acre Wine Group wants to convert 3,050 square feet of an existing 5,560-square-foot warehouse at 1020 Fulton Lane to a distillery that could produce up to 52,800 gallons of brandy and whiskey per year. Actual production is estimated at 22,900 gallons, split evenly between brandy and whiskey.
The beer and wine used in the distillation process will be sourced from local growers, vintners and brewers.
Water used in production will be trucked in from an off-site spring, making the project water-neutral. Wastewater from the distillation process will be stored on-site and trucked away for treatment.
The commission received 20 letters of support for the project. Many said it would add economic diversity to St. Helena, generate tax revenue, and offer an opportunity for grapegrowers who experience smoke taint to recoup some of their losses by distilling the tainted grapes.
During a brief hearing, Commission Chair John Ponte called the distillery a “fine project.”
“It’s small. It uses the space well. It adds variety to what’s available in town,” he said.
Hundred Acre Wine Group was founded by vintner Jayson Woodbridge in 1998.