A Santa Rosa wine and beer shop allowing customers to try before they buy won approval Thursday from the Santa Rosa Planning Commission. Rincon Valley Wine and Craft Beer would be the first shop in Sonoma County to feature automated self-serve wine dispensers that let customers sample wines on tap before they decide to buy a bottle.
Sonoma County grape growers aiming to convert forested hillsides with neat rows of vineyards will have to prove their projects won’t damage local waterways under draft regulations released Thursday. The new rules, proposed by Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar, would prohibit tree removal on the steepest of slopes.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an emergency halt to new vineyards and orchards on forested slopes and hilltops. The four-month freeze was prompted by a wave of new vineyard projects and a need to update 12-year-old farming regulations that don’t deal with tree removal. What, if any, changes would you like to see?
The late wine mogul Jess Jackson’s bid to rename a prominent mountain that loomed over his Alexander Valley estate has been rejected by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names. On Thursday, it voted 11-0 to keep the name Black Mountain, citing no desire to remove the long-standing name of the 3,128-foot ridge.
There may be more wine tasting rooms in downtown Healdsburg than some people want, but the City Council decided Tuesday not to impose new restrictions on them. “I think there’s an over-concentration of wine tasting rooms in the community. Does it mean I want to change it? No,” said Councilman Jim Wood. “The market ebb and flow will take care of it.”
Efren Carrillo, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, has come out swinging against a winemaker with a recent history of controversial tree removals. The winemaker, Paul Hobbs, in turn says he’s being unfairly pilloried, but he’s facing complications beyond Carrillo’s withering words.
California’s wine industry praised a new trade pact between the United States and South Korea, saying it would open doors to a promising wine market. The trade deal is America’s biggest free-trade agreement since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
The state pension fund is parting ways with Premier Pacific Vineyards, a Napa firm that manages its portfolio of vineyard properties. Sources say the move threatens Preservation Ranch, the controversial 1,769-acre forest-to-vineyard conversion project in northwestern Sonoma County.
The Healdsburg City Council on Monday unanimously approved a use permit for a proposed wine bar that had been stymied last month by the Planning Commission, which was conflicted over whether there are too many alcohol establishments downtown. “If we want to have a larger discussion on wine tasting and bars, we can have it at a different time,” Councilman Jim Wood said.
Healdsburg, one of Wine Country’s premiere tourist destinations, is going through some soul-searching over the plethora of tasting rooms downtown. Some residents say Healdsburg has reached saturation when it comes to places that serve alcohol. The issue will come before the City Council next week.