A three-year effort to create the Vincent Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley succeeded Tuesday with a 4-1 vote by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino of Santa Maria, who supported the approval, said it was very disturbing to see people go through such difficulty in getting a project approved.
Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam of Orcutt echoed Lavagnino’s comments, saying that what the applicants had been put through, including multiple traffic studies, was “obscene.” Ultimately, however, he was the only vote against the approval.
Planned by Anthony Vincent on 24 acres at the northeast corner of Highway 154 and Roblar Avenue in Los Olivos, the winery would be roughly 6,000 square feet, including just over 1,000 square feet for wine tasting. The property already has a vineyard.
The winery will be allowed four organized gatherings per year, one of which would be associated with wine industry-wide vintners’ festivals allowing up to 150 attendees, while the remaining three would be restricted to 75 attendees.
Annual sales would be limited to 7,000 cases of wine, and during the four permitted organized activities, the winery could not simultaneously conduct wine tasting, tours or the sale of wine for the general public.
The county Planning Commission voted 3-2 to approve the Vincent project in November, but Valley residents Bob Field and John Poitras appealed to the Board of Supervisors, arguing that the winery’s activities were not agricultural and should not be allowed on agriculturally zoned land.
However, a mediated settlement of the appeal has been achieved with the applicants, based on making the conditions “clear, unambiguous and enforceable,” Field told the supervisors Tuesday.
Susan Petrovich, a local land-use planner representing the Vincents, said the family had chosen to “hang in there” generation after generation to make a living in agriculture. The family knows how to make wine and sell it, and they should be able to do so, she added.
“It has cost Mr. Vincent a fortune to get to this point,” she said, “and he really just wants to spend what he’s got left building the winery and opening the doors.”