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Beaulieu Vineyard to host more visitors

The winery plans to renovate its historic buildings
by Kerana Todorov
June 08, 2018
photo: graphic courtesy Napa County Planning Commission

Napa Valley’s Beaulieu Vineyard will be able to host more visitors at its historic winery, the Napa County Planning Commission decided Wednesday.

Treasury Wine Estates Americas Co., which owns the Rutherford winery, came before the commission Wednesday to obtain the green light to boost the number of visitors to its winery and renovate its campus, including moving its tasting room into its historic 1885 stone building along Highway 29. The tasting room is now in a standalone structure. The company plans to add a new left-hand turn lane to the winery from Highway 29.

A public display on the history of the winery is part of the plan.

“For us the visitation is part of this piece,” said attorney Rob Anglin of Holman Teague Roche Anglin LLP of Napa who represented Treasury Wine Estates before the Planning Commission, referring to the new visitation strategy. “But historic preservation is the main focus for treasury wine estates. When you look at the resources that will go into constructing this project, most of the money is going to be spent on seismic retrofit and the left-turn lane.”

Planning Commissioners were receptive to the winery’s plans.

“I think this applicant has approached this particular project in a very thoughtful, well-planned way,” said Planning Commission Vice Chairman Terry Scott.

The Planning Commission agreed to allow Treasury to have up to 550 visitors a day, seven days a week ¬– or 100 more people per day. Bookings will be scheduled through 6 p.m.

Beaulieu Vineyard also obtained the green light to schedule events for up to 250 people at a time – totaling up to 12,850 people. It currently hosts four marketing events for up to 500 visitors annually.

Treasury Wine Estates also wants to seismically retrofit the historic structure constructed with stone from Howell Mountain in the late 1800s. The work entails cataloguing each stone, reinforcing the structure with steel and placing each stone back in place, Anglin said. The work is labor extensive and expensive, he said.

Beaulieu Vineyard’s campus features a number of additions over the decades. The plans discussed Wednesday include the removal of additions constructed in the 1930s and 1940s.

Renovations of the winery also feature new public restrooms, a new private tasting room in the 1887 structure and the remodeling on an area in a 1930 addition into a new barrel area and production offices.

CalTrans will have to approve an encroachment permit to allow Treasury Wine Estates to build the new left-hand turn off Highway 29. The Planning Commission agreed with CalTrans that Treasury Wine Estates should submit a plan to reduce traffic.

Commissioners said the additional left-turn lane will alleviate the bottleneck in Rutherford. They also spoke on the possibility that the Wine Train would transport visitors to the winery.

At the same time, the commissioners said the company should not be obligated to solve the bottleneck on Highway 29 in Rutherford.

“Traffic is bad all over the valley. It’s not BV’s responsibility to solve other issues that are not related to its own operations,” said Chairwoman Anne Cottrell.

Beaulieu Vineyard's permit for up to 1.8 million gallons of wine production annually is unchanged

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to approve Beaulieu Vineyard’s use permit modification.

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