Public Tastings Raise Controversy in Placer County
Placer County may not get anywhere near the amount of wine tourists as Napa or Sonoma, but a recent story by the Auburn Journal shows that the issue of public tastings is still a controversial subject in the region. Pescatore Vineyard has a permit to produce wine on-site, but not to allow public tastings or sales.
Neighbors argue that Pescatore’s owner, David Wegner, is proceeding with public tastings anyway. They point to language on his website, which in fact states, “It (Pescatore Vineyard) is a perfect place for wine sampling, small group tours or other special occasions.” Neighbors further contend that this activity leads to increased traffic and drunk drivers.
In response, Wegner cites Placer County zoning laws that state lands used for agriculture are allowed to conduct on-site visits and tastings. He also argues that because his winery is very small, he needs to offer on-site tastings and sales to survive.
It seems that County Agriculture Commissioner Christine Turner empathizes with Wegner’s situation. To Ms. Turner, the potential scale of the operations must be taken into account. “Some people think we’re going to be like Napa and Sonoma counties. But there’s no way we’ll have that level of activity. We don’t have that amount of land.” The Placer County Board of Supervisors will have the final say on the controversy.