Recently, the Alliance for Responsible Governance and the Napa County Planning, Building and Environmental Services Director have each published letters regarding the regulation and approval of wineries in Napa County. Both letters have selectively chosen bits and pieces from the 2014-2015 Napa County Grand Jury Final Report titled “Are Napa County wineries following the rules?”

That report, dated May 12, 2015, focused attention on winery growth and regulation, a subject that has attracted increasing interest and discussion ever since. For clarity, here are two relevant paragraphs from the Summary of the Report verbatim.

“The investigation revealed that only 20 wineries are audited each year out of the approximately 467 wineries in the Napa County winery database. In the audits of 2011-2013 from 30% to 40% of the wineries audited were not in compliance for one or more requirements of their permits. The audits are limited in scope and all conditions specified by the use permits are not reviewed. This coupled with the relatively small number of wineries audited may not give a full picture of compliance.”

“The Grand Jury urges that the number and scope of the audits be increased to give a broader indication of compliance with the WDO even though this may require more code enforcement staff than currently employed. The identifications of the wineries that are audited are not released. The Grand Jury also urges that the names of non-compliant wineries be released to give greater transparency to the process and to raise public awareness.”

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The reports of the Grand Jury speak for themselves. Those of us who served on the Grand Jury, and are responsible for the report, hope it has been of service in fostering the ongoing public discussion regarding winery growth, regulation and its effects on Napa County quality of life.

Ross Workman, Foreperson

2014-2015 Napa County Grand Jury

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