Shanti Wines found a way to easily secure Napa County Planning Commission approval for a new winery — make it small and use an existing building in Napa Valley Business Park.
The winery will produce 12,500 gallons of wine annually and have up to 4,464 guests annually. It will be located at 194 Camino Oruga unit 9 between Camino Oruga and North Kelly Road, in an industrial condominium building.
“It’s a way to start a wine business without having to go out in the ag preserve and build an expensive winery,” Planning Commission Chairperson Andrew Mazotti said at Wednesday’s meeting.
Commissioners approved the Shanti Wines project by unanimous vote. They spent only about 20 minutes on the matter, which is about as quick as Planning Commission hearings get.
“Finding ways to do a small-scale winery in Napa County is really challenging,” Commissioner Anne Cottrell said. “And so to use a site that is already developed and built out I think is pretty creative.”
Owner Ray Sharma briefly addressed the commission.
“We’re a family-owned business,” he said. “The project will serve as a boutique winery and tasting room.”
Commissioners had a few concerns. They asked why the winery will truck wine production wastewater to the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, as opposed to sending it to the nearby Napa Sanitation District plant.
Larger wineries in the airport industrial area use NapaSan, but that involves pre-treating the wastewater, something not needed for the East Bay MUD plant. County official said that is harder for a small winery to do.
Cottrell asked how winery events would affect parking in a parking lot shared with other businesses. Sharma said the winery will try to hold events on weekends when those businesses are closed.
“We will have enough parking,” he said. “There’s plenty of street parking. If we do need to, we’re willing to use a shuttle.”
With those matters cleared up, the Planning Commission granted the use permit.
“It’s hard to poke holes in this,” Mazotti said. “It’s a fairly straightforward application. It’s not asking for much and it’s an appropriate area.”
Shanti Wines in the airport industrial area will use 1,436 square feet of space. It will employ one full-time and two part-time workers. It can have up to 12 by-appointment tasting room guests daily, as well as marketing events.
The airport industrial area has 23 approved wineries, of which 12 are operating. They range from Vinum Cellars at a mere 1,200 gallons annually to Barrel Ten Quarter Circle at 43 million gallons annually.
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