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Sacramento County Amends Zoning Ordinance To Assist Growth of Local Wine Industry

January 24, 2012

From Sacramento Press – Sacramento’s wine industry received a boost last month with the approval of an ordinance that promotes agricultural tourism, a move local wineries said they are excited to see.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in December to adopt new zoning code amendments that will potentially foster growth of Sacramento’s wine industry. The changes will take effect in just a few days.

Among other things, the ordinance provides the grape growers of a certain size the right to produce and bottle their own wine; gives wineries the ability to open small tasting rooms in agricultural zones; and eliminates the requirement for conditional use permits for private events, with restrictions based on the size of the property.

“It promotes people growing local and buying local,” said Don Nottoli, supervisor for district 5.

The presence of wineries in Amador, El Dorado and Yolo counties increased dramatically in recent years, but Sacramento county’s growth has been minimal, a fact the Board of Supervisors addressed with the ordinance.

“We feel this is an important step to encourage economic growth, job creation and keep tourism dollars in our county,” said Nottoli in a press release on Dec. 14. “By reducing regulatory obstacles, we can help Sacramento County become an important part of the wine tourism industry.”

These amendments allow for a more streamlined process and will save businesses thousands of dollars and as much as two years in permitting time, Nottoli said. The money, previously spent on permits, can be invested into growing the businesses.

“One of the things we’ve seen is that Sacramento’s culinary tourism has increased dramatically,” said Mike Testa, senior vice president at the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. “If we put the same attention into our wine industry, the tourism package is something we can certainly sell.”

Testa added that groups attending conferences in Sacramento often make day trips to wine country, and Sacramento should be making every effort to keep them here.

Revolution Wines, at S and 29th streets in Midtown, is an urban winery, said owner Gina Genshlea. In addition to the tasting room and bistro that serves snacks and small plates…to read the rest of the story, please click here.

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