Kenwood Press

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Business Beat: 12/01/2019

Business Beat for Dec. 1, 2019

Kenwood Vineyards withdraws tasting room application

Kenwood Vineyards has decided to pull its use permit application to build a new tasting room, citing the lengthy county permit process.

“After four and a half years, at considerable resource and cost, we've deemed the use permit application process with the Sonoma County Planning Department to be too onerous for us, and have retracted the application accordingly,” said Jo-Anna Partridge, vice-president of operations for Kenwood Vineyards.

Kenwood Vineyards, owned by international wine and spirit company Pernod Ricard, first applied for a new permit back in 2015.

After making some modifications to its original proposal, the project consisted of new construction of a modern 4,200-square-foot tasting room on an existing knoll. The structure was to include a public tasting room, VIP tasting room, and kitchen.

The use permit application also asked for up to 33 events a year.

A trip to the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission (SVCAC) in 2016 went fairly well, with the commission, by a 9-2 vote, recommending the county approve the project, but that there be special attention to lighting, amplified music, and noise generated by events.

The development went to the county's Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) at the end of 2017, and that's where the project ran into a snag.

The increase of wine industry-related events and their potential effects on traffic have been hot-button issues for a number of years in Sonoma Valley and other winery-concentrated areas of the county.

At that 2017 BZA hearing, issues came up regarding the traffic study conducted for Kenwood Vineyards' proposal, which concluded that the requested 33 events would have “less than significant impact” on traffic flow in the immediate area. Commissioners questioned the methodology used in traffic studies in general, and requested Kenwood Vineyards to do some more traffic analysis. The hearing on the application was continued to an unspecified date.

Kenwood Vineyards did do an updated traffic study, according to county planning officials, and earlier this year the study was going under a peer review by the county, but no new BZA hearing was ever scheduled.

St. Francis hosts “Jingle Mingle”

Don your distinctive sweater on Dec. 14 and gather at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards for “Jingle Mingle,” a fun and festive holiday reception with delicious wines and inspired by the joyful spirit of the season.

Enjoy seasonal hors d'oeuvres, artisan wines, live music and exclusive holiday gift offerings. Share in the cheer and good tidings of the season in the comfort of St. Francis' visitor center.

The event runs 6-8 p.m. Cost is $90 per person, $72 for wine club members.

For tickets, go to

St. Francis Winery is located at 100 Pythian Road at Sonoma Hwy.

Business Blurbs

The Glen Ellen Stroll will take place Dec. 14, noon to 6 p.m. Visit downtown Glen Ellen wineries and celebrate the holiday season with the local business community. Stroll, sip and shop for holiday gifts, and a few special bottles for yourself. Garlands, gifts and Santa on a horse drawn carriage - what more could you ask for? VJB Vineyards & Cellars is hosting a Toys for Tots drive this holiday season. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the tasting room and get a free hot chocolate. There's also a toy donation container at the Kenwood Fire Department… Transcendence Theatre's Broadway Holiday Spectacular will be at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts Dec. 6-8. Celebrate the holidays with fantastic song and dance by Broadway performers. Get tickets at www.BroadwayHolidayShow.comValley of the Moon Winery will host its annual family-friendly Sip 'n Shop on Dec. 7, 12-5 p.m. Enjoy live music from carolers, a visit from Santa, and goods from local food artisans as well as special pricing on wine and gifts. The winery is located at 777 Madrone Road in Glen Ellen… The Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce will be having its State of the Valley event on Dec. 3, 5:30-8 p.m., at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Community leaders will present an overview of the business community's important trends and topics. Also, the chamber will present its 2019 “Business of the Year” award. For tickets, go to… The Sonoma County Farm Bureau will have its 31st Annual Great Sonoma Crab Feed and Wine Fest on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Silent and live auctions, crab and more! Tickets are limited and go fast, so get yours now by going to www.sonomafb.orgMuscardini Cellars will be the site for “Pairin' with Karen” on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, at noon. This is an intimate, 90-minute, wine and food pairing with a limited number of seats. Karen Hannah will teach you how to perfectly pair seasonal bites with Muscardini wines. $45 for person. Email to reserve a spot. Muscardini is located at 9380 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood.

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