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San Diego County Looks At Changes To Wine Ordinance

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob talks about the county's wine ordinance, March 2, 2016.
Steve Walsh
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob talks about the county's wine ordinance, March 2, 2016.

San Diego County Looks At Changes To Wine Ordinance
San Diego County is looking at tightening the rules for boutique wineries, after seeing the industry boom in the last five years.

San Diego County is looking at tightening the rules for boutique wineries, after seeing the industry boom in the last five years.

When the county created special rules to allow small wineries to open tasting rooms, the number of tasting rooms in the eastern part of the county jumped to nearly 30. Still, some vintners are worried the changes didn’t level the playing field with nearby cities.

“The county has gotten people into the industry by opening the door and making it seem like they’re supporting it," said Eric Metz, winemaker and owner of Lenora Wines in Ramona. "That’s not the case.”

Requiring all wine to be made from at least 25 percent of grapes grown in San Diego County turns off some customers who want all the wines California is known for, he said. The county also doesn’t allow wineries to have restaurants or live music venues.

“You can’t compare this with what goes on in the cities," said county Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "If you have a commercial zone or an industrial zone, then you can do whatever you want to do. These are agricultural lands. They’re zoned ag for a particular reason.”

County supervisors are expected to vote on a revamped ordinance sometime in April. The draft ordinance would allow small wineries to have at least one food truck.

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