Turning point for Placer County’s fledgling wine industry?
Auburn, Calif. – The Project 8 Winery in Penryn gained final approval from the Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, which includes a full-production, large winery expected to produce 50,000 cases of wine annually.
The project is described by the applicant BEM Inc. (representing LeCavalier Cellars) as a “world-class destination” that will provide patrons an educational experience in agri-business, including wine making and bottling production processes. The winery will feature a 75-foot-tall building with an accessory restaurant and an underground cave network.
The Board of Supervisors’ actions included a 5-0 vote to certify the environmental impact report for the project, and a 4-1 vote to approve a zoning text amendment to allow the project to request a height exception. Lastly, the board voted 4-0-1 to approve a conditional use permit to operate the full-scale, large winery with a 75-foot-tall building on 17.96 acres of a 44-acre parcel at 7615 Callison Road in Penryn.
In April, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the Project 8 Winery project to the Board of Supervisors, with the caveat that the zoning text amendment only be applicable to large wineries that meet acreage requirements.
The board’s approval Tuesday increased requirements recommended by the Planning Commission from 20 acres to 40 acres, including a provision that at least 10 acres of vineyards be cultivated, and required evaluation of setbacks for buildings taller than 36 feet.
The originally proposed language, which was approved by the board, requires that any buildings subject to the zoning text amendment must obtain a conditional use permit, which includes evaluation of visual impacts and a public hearing process with the Planning Commission.
Along with wine tasting, dinner service and agricultural events, the conditional use permit also allows Project 8 to host 12 special events a year that are not related to agriculture.
“The history of my family, and the history of Placer County is enriched by agriculture,” said Board Chair and District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes. “Project 8, and the impact it will have on agri-business is a turning point for the wine industry in our county.”
Tuesday’s meeting was added to the board’s regular meeting schedule to ensure time for a significant public comment. The board heard more than 100 public comments, the majority being in support of the project, from the community and local business leaders.