Next Meeting on Updated Winery Rules

County Presents Adjustments on November 20 to Winemakers and Concerned Neighbors

Monday, November 11, 2013
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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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Independent Discussion Guidelines

Follow the money.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 11, 2013 at 7:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's crazy for everyone to be growing the same thing; and not rotating crops is bad for the soil.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 12, 2013 at 5:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Do vineyards qualify for farm subsidies?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 12, 2013 at 5:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In a relatively short period of time, I watched the SYV change from a healthy, functioning, desirable place to live and visit, into a giant shrine to the wine industry.

Where there were once horses and flowers, is now all wine cultivation. Where there were once art galleries, restaurants and stores serving residents and visitors aline, is now all wine bars. The entire area has been given over to a single industry and its massive financial interests, leaving residents and visitors with little if anything else to utilize and enjoy.

The old adage about putting all of ones eggs into a single basket comes to mind here.

This is no longer an area which can successfully support a healthy cross-section of residents or visitors; the only reason to go there is to buy and drink wine and/or possibly to also race bicycles and gamble. So I say, let the winos and bikers and gamblers pay for it all; it's their personal paradise, they can pay for it. And the rest of us can go live and visit in places which are more socioeconomically diverse and secure for the long run for the majority of people.

Lastly, let's picture a scenario where "something" happens to the wine crop and it's wiped out...kind of like the "something" that happened to the auto industry in now-blighted Detroit.

No more grapes, no more alcohol for the folks who pretend what they're consuming at such high prices isn't really alcohol. No more "Had a bad/good/stressful/awesome day? Have a glass of WINE!" in every conversation...because the grapes are gone, gone, gone. The endless stream of advertising for the wine industry: gone, gone, gone.

Now let's picture how the heck all these people are going to PAY for their little paradise? Mortgages, insurance, utilities, payrolls, rents on sales outlets, the payments for the luxury cars and luxury lifestyles all these things still must be met, but now there's no money to meet these obligations. The local economy collapses. Will it recover? Will Detroit recover? All interesting questions...

Holly (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 7:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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