A proposed Napa Valley winery that drewn opposition from immediate future neighbors received its final go-ahead to build east of Rutherford.
The Napa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution to approve Scarlett Winery, a proposed new winery west of the Silverado Trail. The 3-1 vote confirms the Board’s tentative decision this summer to approve the proposed 30,000-gallon winery on Ponti Road..
Scarlett Winery owner Sherratt Reicher plans to build a two-story, 4,500-square-foot tasting room/ administration building and a one story, 18,000-square foot production facility on the property, where his family has grown grapes since 1990.
The parcel currently includes an existing 38-acre vineyard as well as a residence, a guest cottage, an irrigation pond and buildings for farming equipment, according to a county staff report. Two wells on site provides water to the property.
The supervisors tentatively approved the winery in August by denying an appeal filed by Ponti Road neighbors, George and Nancy Montgomery. The neighbors had raised a host of concerns about the project, including increased noise, additional traffic on narrow Ponti Road, questionable ground water availability and other environmental concerns.
The appeal sought to either require the county require Scarlett Winery’s owner to prepare an in-depth environmental impact report to analyze the effects of the winery project on the environment or deny the project altogether.
Opponents to the project had proposed to relocate the winery’s entrance to the Silverado trail which also borders the 48-acre parcel – away from half-a-dozen residences on Ponti Road.
However, Napa County staff said general plan policies discourage new driveways on major roads.
Neighbors who opposed the winery’s location said Ponti Road, which dates from 1939, does not meet current road and street standards. However, county officials said these standards only applied to new roads. Opponents also noted that Ponti Road intersects with Skellenger Lane, where traffic often backs up.
Chairman of the Board Alfredo Pedroza, who voted for the project this summer and again on Tuesday, said in August that traffic backups are a “regional issue.”
The location of the winery is “appropriate,” Pedroza also said at the August meeting, noting it is “ag zoning.”
Supervisor Diane Dillon was the sole dissenter Tuesday. Dillon, who also voted against the project this summer, said in August she was concerned about winery traffic on a quiet rural street. The “excellent” alternative is to relocate the winery’s access to the Silverado Trail, she said.
The appellants sought to have the county require Scarlett Winery’s owner to prepare an in-depth environmental impact report and a new evaluation of the project by the Board of Supervisors.
But in the end, County staff concluded none of the information provided by the appellants would have altered the Planning Commission’s decision to approve the project in January 2020.
Under the conditions of approval, Scarlett Winery has to build two turnouts on its property for public safety vehicles.
Scarlett Winery’s new use permit allows the winery to host up to 15 customers for wine tastings or up to 80 customers per week. The visits are by-appointment only, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Scarlett Winery has to provide shuttles for guests attending its larger marketing events to limit traffic on Ponti Road.
The winery’s marketing program includes two events a month for up to 10 guests; one annual event for up to 100 visitors; one annual event for up to 125 guests and one annual event for up to 200 people. Marketing events are to take place on weekends; no wine tasting appointments can be scheduled on days when marketing events are slated to take place.
The Planning Commission approved the project on Jan. 15, 2020, four years after the initial use permit application was filed with county officials.