Napa County plans to take the Bremer Family Winery to court as the two parties seek to resolve what types of operations are allowed at the winery in the mountains east of St. Helena.
The county Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized the move in closed session on Tuesday. The winery is located at 975 Deer Park Road.
Bremer Family Winery is working to file two applications with the county. One is to resolve issues involved with operations at the winery itself. The other is to resolve issues concerning an ongoing effort to truck in thousands of cubic yards of dirt for vineyard creation.
Scott Greenwood-Meinert, attorney for the Bremers, said on Wednesday that the county’s intended lawsuit involves the winery operations. He acknowledged that Bremer Family Winery is late submitting some documents, but said it is making an effort.
“We’re very disappointed about this,” Greenwood-Meinert said. “We have been working hard and in good faith to get all of the submittals in … We anticipate having all of them submitted in the next three weeks. And the county knows this.”
Details of what violations the county says must be corrected at the winery were not available on Wednesday. The county had yet to file the lawsuit, with officials saying this should happen by the end of the week.
The winery’s use permit is from 1979. One issue the modification application seeks to sort out is how many visitors are allowed, given the county sets visitation caps on most wineries.
Maximum visitation at Bremer Family Winery is 90 people a day, the application said. Bremer is seeking a maximum of 300.
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The winery is allowed to produce 14,400 gallons of wine annually, which is slightly above its actual production in 2014, the application said. Bremer is seeking to produce 50,000 gallons annually.
Another request on the application is “to incorporate certain existing accessory uses on the property into the winery coverage area to more accurately reflect the current winery operations.”
Bremer is not alone in this type of attempt. The Planning Commission in recent years has heard several requests to clarify and clean up winery use permits.
Meanwhile, in an issue apparently unrelated to the county’s planned lawsuit, Bremer is continuing efforts to resolve its vineyard creation effort.
A Bremer official said last year the area chosen for the 30-acre vineyard is rocky. The solution has been to use the rocks to create soil reservoirs and truck up dirt from such sources as the Napa River restoration project on the valley floor.
But county officials said last year what has been done on the ground doesn’t match the county-approved erosion control plan. The county halted the soil hauling. That’s led to efforts to resolve this issue.
Planning, Building and Environmental Services Director David Morrison said Wednesday that Bremer’s updated erosion control plan application for the earth-moving effort is largely complete. County staff is evaluating it.
In addition, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board on July 6 issued a cleanup-and-abatement order to Bremer Family Winery for supposedly placing fill in a creek.