Starting a Winery in Temecula PDF Print E-mail

I often hear from excited, prospective winery operators in the Temecula Valley seeking advice concerning plans to start a new winery.  My "advice" is often you can't.

Unlike many other wine regions in California, in 2006, the County of Riverside adopted a number of restrictive laws that prevent wineries not meeting certain standards from operating in Temecula.  These laws are viewed by some as necessary to ensure the integrity of the Valley's wineries, and by others as intrusive government restrictions designed to protect existing wineries from outside competition. 

On a personal level, I would like to see amendments to the law that would allow smaller wineries to exist, while protecting the overall intent of the policy..  That said, the law is the law and this is what is says:

The Riverside County Code

Riverside County Code, 17.136.040, Subd. D, provides in relevant part:

The following standards shall apply to all wineries in the C/V zone:

1. The minimum lot size shall be ten (10) gross acres for wineries.
2. Seventy-five (75) percent of the net lot area shall be planted in vineyards prior to issuance of a building permit.
3. Effective January 24, 2011, at least seventy-five (75) percent of the grapes utilized in wine production and retail wine sales shall be grown or raised on site or within the county except in the following situation:

a. A winery owner shall be able to request a waiver for a specific amount of time during adverse environmental circumstances or extreme viticultural catastrophe.

4. A winery facility shall have a capacity to produce at least three thousand five hundred (3,500) gallons of wine annually.

5. A winery facility (buildings or structures) shall be at least one thousand five hundred (1,500) square feet in size.

Prospective wineries located within the "Citrus/Vineyard Zone" (C/V) must obtain "Plot Plan" approval from the County of Riverside (Riverside County Code 17.136.030, Subd. B) are subject to the following restrictions beginning at subsection 5 of Subd. B:

Subsection 5. Wineries, in conjunction with the following appurtenant and incidental commercial uses, only with an established on-site vineyard and a minimum gross parcel size of ten (10) acres:

a. Wine sampling room,
b. Retail wine sale and/or gift sale,
c. Special occasion facility,
d. Bed and breakfast inns or delicatessens and/or restaurants; however, drive-thru restaurants are not permitted;

Subsection 6. Wineries, in conjunction with the following appurtenant and incidental commercial uses, only with an established on-site vineyard and a minimum gross parcel size of fifteen (15) acres:

a. Wine sampling room,
b. Retail wine sale and/or gift sale,
c. Special occasion facility,
d. Country inns or delicatessens and/or restaurants; however, drive-thru restaurants are not permitted;

Subsection 7. Wineries, in conjunction with three of the following appurtenant and incidental commercial uses, only with an established on-site vineyard and a minimum gross parcel size of twenty (20) acres:

a. Wine sampling room,
b. Retail wine sale and/or gift sale,
c. Special occasion facility,
d. Hotels and day spas and cooking schools only in conjunction with hotels,
e. Delicatessens and/or restaurants; however, drive-thru restaurants are not permitted;

Additional Definitions / Notes:

Pursuant to Riverside County Code 17.136.020 the following terms are defined as:

“Bed and breakfast inn” means usually a dwelling unit, but sometimes a small facility, with ten (10) or fewer rooms, which provides lodging and breakfast for temporary overnight occupants, in return for compensation.

“Clustered development” means a development, in which the allowed number of dwelling units (density yield) are placed in closer proximity than usual, with a purpose of permanently preserving vineyards.

“Country inn” means a mid-size facility, usually an extension of the main dwelling unit, with eleven (11) to twenty (20) rooms, which provides lodging, and breakfast for temporary overnight occupants, in return for compensation.

“Hotel” means a large separate facility, with twenty-one (21) or more rooms or suites, which provides lodging and breakfast (but no provision for cooking in rooms or suites) for temporary overnight occupants, in return for compensation.

“Production lot” means an independent lot of twenty (20) acres gross or more thatindex.php is set aside for planting vineyards through a deed restriction, fee title purchase, or other conservation mechanism.

“Special occasion facility” means an outdoor facility, in conjunction with a dwelling unit or a winery, which may include a structure or building, which is used on special occasions for public assembly for a specific period of time in return for compensation. Special occasions may involve, but not be limited to, weddings, concerts, parties, spectator oriented events or other celebrations.

“Vineyard” means a farm where grapevines are planted, grown or raised.

“Winery” means an agricultural facility designed and used to crush, ferment, and process grapes into wine.

Conclusion

If the prospective winery is located within the CV area and less than 10 acres, until the law is changed, don't even think about starting a winery within the County, you will need to go into the City of Temecula (or outside the CV zone).

Link to the The C/V Policy

 

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