Napa County’s airport industrial area will continue to become a kind of wine country of its own.
The Napa County Planning Commission on Wednesday allowed two previously approved industrial projects to morph into wineries. Both will be in Napa Valley Business Park between the city of Napa and American Canyon.
Commissioners needed little discussion to reach their verdicts. County policies encourage wine production in this world of warehouses and industrial buildings to help alleviate Upvalley traffic.
“It’s clearly the right project in the right place,” Planning Commission chairperson Dave Whitmer said of one of the applications.
The airport industrial area has 12 operating wineries and 10 planned wineries. Sizes range from as low as 1,200 gallons a year to as high as 43 million gallons a year.
Gateway Partners, Inc. successfully asked to have a 400,000-gallon-a-year winery at 501 Gateway Drive. The winery is to operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day and have no tours, tasting or marketing events.
Napa County in 1994 approved the development of the Santen pharmaceutical manufacturing and research campus in four buildings at the 13.8-acre site, but that project never came to fruition. In 2016, the county approved consolidating two of the planned buildings to manufacture eyeglasses, a venture that also failed to happen.
With the latest approval, tenants at the future building will instead be making wine.
“We don’t have a specific winery tenant identified at this time,” said attorney Rob Anglin on behalf of the applicants. “We’ve been in discussions with multiple wineries.”
The winery will not be sending trucks hauling wine wastewater to East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, as some wineries do. Rather, it will pretreat wastewater for discharge to the nearby Napa Sanitation District (NapaSan) plant to be turned into recycled water.
All operations are to be indoors. The winery is to employ up to 44 people during crush.
The other project involves modifying plans for a light industrial building at Devlin Road near Sheehy Creek approved by the Planning Commission in 2018. Rudd Properties, LLC can now build a 98,400-gallon-a-year winery.
Like the Gateway project, this winery-to-be is to have no visitors and to pre-treat winery wastewater for discharge to NapaSan. It is to have 10 employees.
“This is a very straightforward application,” Commissioner Joelle Gallagher said.
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