Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Business Beat: 08/01/2020

Business Beat -- August 1, 2020

VJB hearing set for late August

A long delayed county hearing to consider VJB Vineyards & Cellars' request for modifications to its existing use permit has now been scheduled in front of the county's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in a virtual meeting tentatively scheduled for Aug. 27.

VJB, which first opened in Kenwood in 2012, has had numerous filings over the years to modify its original use permit, but for a number of reasons has never gotten to the formal hearing stage where the county would give a thumbs up or down.

In front of the BZA will be a request, in part, to allow VJB to formally operate a commercial kitchen and patio restaurant food service for up to 313 people per day.

The use permit modification request also includes installation of a new septic system, and the construction of a 53-space parking lot on vacant property VJB owns across from the entrance on Shaw Avenue. VJB is dropping a request to potentially increase their hours of operation, and agreeing to forego hosting previously approved special events.

VJB is also asking that a previous county requirement to install a left turn lane from Sonoma Highway onto Shaw Avenue be shelved.

As part of the hearing the BZA will also consider a recently released environmental analysis on the project, which, according to the hearing notice, "did not find potential environmental impacts that could not be mitigated to a less-than-significant level." This conclusion, if adopted by the BZA, would preclude a more lengthy and comprehensive environmental review, such as an Environmental Impact Report.

The environmental document, known as a mitigated negative declaration, is currently being circulated to relevant government departments and agencies, and must be responded to by Aug. 26.

Anyone with questions about VJB's proposal can contact the county planner handling the project, Blake Hillegas, at, or 565-1392.

Cuvée outdoor wine dinner

MIchael Muscardini and Catherine Venturini                                                                          Michael Muscardini and Catherine Venturini

Chef Catherine Venturini and Cuvée Wine Country Events is putting on an al fresco summer backyard wine dinner at Muscardini Cellars in Kenwood on Aug. 8, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Included on the menu are a starter of melon, prosciutto, fig and farmstead cheese, followed by lemon-seared sea bass on cornmeal fried green tomatoes, an Alba mushroom and yellow tomato confit, chilled gazpacho, grilled California Wagyu beef, risotto with wild mushrooms, and topping it all off with a summer peach crostata with vanilla bean gelato.

Food will be paired with Muscardini wines - sangioveses, pinot grigios, and cabernets.

Tickets are limited. Cost is $110 per person plus tax (gratuity included).

Book your reservation by going to

Muscardini is located at 9380 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood.

Lobster dinner at B.R. Cohn

Dig out your lobster bib for a Maine lobster feast being hosted by B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen on Aug. 22.

Dinner includes lobster, prawns, corn, artichoke, potatoes, sourdough baguette, drawn butter, an Its-It ice cream sandwich, and two glasses of wine.

Each meal will be served individually, and every party will have their own private table. Party limit of six guests.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m.

Cost is $150 per person; $125 for wine club members. To make a reservation, go to and select the "Winery Events" page.

B.R. Cohn Winery is located at 15000 Sonoma Hwy. in Glen Ellen.

En Garde offers outside tastings

Like other wineries right now, En Garde Winery's indoor tasting room in Kenwood is closed.

But in an arrangement with Mayo Family Winery in Glen Ellen, En Garde can now offer outdoor tasting by appointment, seven days a week in Mayo's courtyard, 13101 Arnold Dr. The open-air tastings will take place between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

To make a reservation go to and click on "Visit."

Questions? Call 282-9216.

Economic recovery virtual town hall

The County's Economic Recovery Committee will be hosting its first Town Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. to gather feedback from the community. The Town Hall will be in English and Spanish on Zoom and the input collected will be used to help inform a long-term economic recovery strategy.

Developed by the Economic Development Board and Office of Recovery and Resiliency at the direction of the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors, the Economic Recovery Committee is focused on long-term recovery with emphasis on business-specific recovery, workforce recovery, and community recovery. The Committee is comprised of community leaders from the business community, Latinx members of the community, nonprofit agencies, labor and workforce, local government, and education.

The Town Hall will be facilitated by strategic and organizational expert, BJ Bischoff, in collaboration with the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency. To watch and participate in the Town Hall, register at

The Town Hall will also be streamed live to Facebook at Questions and comments can be submitted in advance to

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