Bob Field

Paul Wellman

Bob Field

Deal Reached on Vincent Winery

Test of Supervisors’ Wine-Industry Sentiments Averted

Thursday, February 21, 2013
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What was widely expected to be a test of the county supervisors’ sentiments on the future of Santa Barbara’s wine industry turned out to be a lesson in neighborly compromise on Tuesday, when those opposed to and behind the Vincent Winery project announced a last-minute deal had been reached.

Happily surprised to be saved from a heated appeal hearing, the board approved the deal without changes ​— ​save for a “no” vote and some vitriolic anti-government-regulation sniping from new supervisor Peter Adam. That means, more than three years since first submitting an application for their nearly 25-acre property, the Vincent family can now build a 7,300-square-foot wine production facility and 1,100-square-foot tasting room at the corner of Roblar Avenue and Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley, and host four special events per year (one up to 150 people, three up to 75 people).

The agreement emerged from a January 18 meeting between the two parties, namely the Vincents and valley residents Bob Field and John Poitras, who appealed the County Planning Commission’s November approval of the project. Neither side could be quite sure which way the political winds would blow on Tuesday, so they embraced the county’s “facilitation” process ​— ​a sit-down negotiation only offered when an appeal to the Board of Supervisors is filed ​— ​and endured the sometimes contentious across-the-table give-and-take required to nail down a deal.

Susan Petrovich
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Susan Petrovich

The end result did not change much from what the Planning Commission approved, but Field and Poitras say that wasn’t their intent. Rather, they wanted to tie up the loose ends that remained after the commission’s approval, which meant accurately defining terms to ensure that what was approved ​— ​for instance, just five hours of wine tasting per day and closure of the tasting room when events were hosted ​— ​was actually what went into practice.

“The beauty of what happened here is that it was negotiated,” said Field. “We found middle ground.” The Vincents’ attorney Susan Petrovich agreed. “Even though we, to this day, do not agree on some basic principles,” she explained, “everyone involved are residents of the valley ​— ​they’re neighbors ​— ​and any common ground we can reach is a victory in my opinion.”

After the hearing, Field and Petrovich ​— ​whose ability to negotiate from such historically opposed stances was lauded by 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, drawing some laughs from the crowd ​— ​both lamented that the January 18 “facilitation” was the first time in the county’s permitting process where face-to-face and private negotiation was even an official option. Though Petrovich admitted the meeting “wasn’t exactly a kumbaya thing,” she and Field agreed it was a good tool for reaching compromise and suggested that it should perhaps come even sooner in the county process, which could save everyone money and time.

And that might be the only lasting impact that the Vincent deal could have for the ongoing winery ordinance update, which has the last of its information-gathering workshops on Thursday, February 21, 3-5 p.m., at the county supervisors’ conference room in Santa Barbara. “I wish there was a way that we could have the same kind of sit-down, yelling across the table but realizing some areas for middle ground regarding the winery ordinance,” explained Petrovich, echoing many who have already called for more neighborly discussions than what’s ensued so far. “I don’t see the workshops doing that.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

One can already see Peter Adam catering to the extreme edges of our county. FAR more than Joni did.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2013 at 11:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Is there information about the priority support from Doreen Farr about getting a 4 way stop sign on the Highway 154 at Roblar?

Peter Adam might cater to the extreme, but remember extreme has 2 ends. I am going to withhold my feelings on him, till I see more....

losolivoslocal (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2013 at 12:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'd hardly call Doreen Farr extreme. You're just used to more Corporatist/neoLiberal "Democrats.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2013 at 2:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

An old tactic in real estate development is ask for much more than you want, then bargain your way down.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2013 at 2:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People who try that with me are always surprised when I say "ok, I'll find someone/place else. Thank you for your time."

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2013 at 3:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bob Field engaged in an effort at compromise with a local winery? Next thing you'll tell us that pigs can fly and that the Republican Party has decided to join the 21th Century.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dreaming is easy with eyes closed, blackpoodles.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2013 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I posted this in another article I found on this subject - sorry, not a resident of your area, but extremely impressed with the wine:
I was recently in this area of California and went to a local wine tasting venue. I tasted the Santa Ynez Valley Vincent Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon - out of all of the wines I tasted this day (visited several vineyards and tasting establishments) this was the best wine I tasted - my son agreed. I have been frantically searching for some where to purchase this in my home state of VA ever since I returned. I hope that this family is able to cut through all of this red tape and be able to start "doing business".

ygrad2 (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2013 at 5:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ygrad- so glad to hear you visited out area and enjoyed your time here!

Vincent Vineyard wines are "estate grown and estate made". They have no winery built yet, having just had it approved 1 day ago. THINK ABOUT THAT- they are advertising, on their label that it is estate grown and estate made....without a winery.

It is easy to say one thing and do another.....and if this is the wat they start out, imagine what is to come.

losolivoslocal (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2013 at 8:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FYI FOR LOSOLIVOSLOCAL. The existing rules require that an estate-bottled wine is labeled with an official appellation. The grapes must be grown and the winery must be located within the same REGION, and the vineyard source(s) must be "owned or controlled" by the winery.

fact (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 4:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's that regional loophole, i.e. anything with Santa Barbara (or related ) on the label automatically costs twice as much. How far away is region?
Don't get me wrong, I think regionally myself. But when it comes to consumer labelling does regional include Oxnard? Moorpark? As a consumer you can see my interest.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 8:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank You FACT.

There are so many quirky little rules when it comes down to the nitty gritty- aren't there? Should I be suspect of the origins of my lettuce when it says Lompoc grown- is that Tutti Fruitti on Santa Rosa rd or is it Santa Maria, out on Betteravia?

The average wine buyer WOULD NEVER KNOW THAT, the the wine can be grown in one place and processed at a place across the County and never see its Mother Land till its time to be opened and tasted- and still be called ESTATE.

losolivoslocal (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 8:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That is why winemakers have to go through the process of government approval before they print any information on the label. It is not easy as the government is very restrictive and controlling on that issue. Thank you.

fact (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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