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For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors approves Winery Events Ordinance

SANTA ROSA, CA | March 14, 2023

The Board of Supervisors today approved Sonoma County’s first Winery Events Ordinance, establishing standards for winery events such as parking requirements, food service, traffic management and noise standards. 

New and modified use permits will be subject to the ordinance, while existing permits will not be affected by the new standards, which are designed to address the impacts of winery visitor-serving uses on agricultural land. 

The standards provide a baseline for how the County of Sonoma balances preservation of agricultural areas with sustainable development of wine industry events when evaluating individual projects and their impacts. Permit Sonoma will utilize these standards when considering new and modified use permit applications for winery visitor-serving uses outside of the Coastal Zone. The ordinance brings consistency to the use permit evaluation process, reduces impacts to surrounding properties, protects agricultural lands and preserves rural character. 

Some examples of the types of standards laid out in the ordinance include establishing tasting room hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., whereas agricultural promotional events could occur between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. The standards also call for a traffic management plan for events with more than 100 participants, including parking attendants, among other specifics.

“This ordinance was a long time coming,” said Supervisor James Gore whose Fourth District encompasses the Dry Creek Valley and Westside Road. “These standards will help provide clarity and guidance to an important function of a major industry in Sonoma County, while balancing the needs of the community.”

The Winery Events Ordinance incorporates feedback and input received during numerous stakeholder meetings and community workshops since 2015, including a 195-person public workshop, and previous hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Additionally, Permit Sonoma has worked with three areas with a concentration of visitor-serving wineries in Sonoma Valley, Westside Road and Dry Creek Valley to establish supplemental local guidelines for their respective communities. 

For more information about the project, please visit the Winery Events Project page

Media Contact: 
Bradley Dunn, Permit Sonoma Policy Manager
(707) 321-0502
2550 Ventura Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403