A wealthy financier’s embattled proposal to construct a small winery in the hills north of Santa Rosa earned final approval Tuesday in front of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. The 10,000-case winery, proposed by Goldman Sachs partner Henry Cornell, is planned for 40 acres off St. Helena Road, 1.5 miles west of the Napa County line. Cornell owns 215 acres in the area, including vineyards.
Hop Kiln Winery, an iconic presence in the Russian River Valley, wants to triple its wine-making capacity and add an administration and hospitality center for public and private events. If the county approves the plan, Hop Kiln could become the largest winery on Westside Road, a two-lane country road that skirts the Russian River and Dry Creek valleys and is heavily traveled by agriculture workers, winetasters and, increasingly, by recreational bicyclists.