Next Meeting on Updated Winery Rules

County Presents Adjustments on November 20 to Winemakers and Concerned Neighbors

Vintners threw understandable fits when the County of Santa Barbara scheduled the two public feedback meetings on the updated winery rules in the middle of the wine grape harvest, but the decision to move one of the meetings until November 20 seems to have benefited all. Instead of two meetings focused on the same proposed language, the gap in time allowed county planners the ability to tweak the draft in substantial ways, incorporating elements of what was said at the last meeting by both vintners and neighbors concerned about the wine industry’s growth in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Among other changes, the planners eliminated one of the four tiers, adjusted minimum acreages and visitor numbers to more accurately accommodate winery needs, created a brand new section focused solely on winemaker dinners, and reworked the hours allowed for special events, with separate regulations for wineries located in the “inner rural” neighborhoods versus those in fully rural areas. The county will be running down these changes and then accepting more comments on them on Wednesday, November 20, from 6 to 8 p.m., at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Church in Los Olivos.

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