Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Critical Week for Fauquier County Wineries

To all lovers of Virginia wine: The many wineries of Fauquier County need your help. This week, a new farm winery ordinance is being voted on (Thursday evening, July 12), that could have a severe impact on their businesses. Although apparently the ordinance, if passed, will not require the wineries to completely close their tasting rooms, the new ordinance would limit business hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - similar to the California laws. Weddings, live bands, special winery dinners, and other events will be severely restricted. Many wineries depend on these types of events to recoup their investment. These folks took huge gambles in bringing wine to Northern Virginia, and clearly the powers that be in Fauquier are not as eager to embrace the Virginia Wine culture as nearby Loudoun, Culpeper or Rappahannock counties. According to Dan Mortland, owner of Fox Meadow Winery, Fauquier County is the home of many wealthy, conservative, "old money" residents, who "want Fauquier County to stay firmly in the 1950s." You can't stop progress - or population. The DC area has more than quadrupled in population since the days of Pleasantville, and these long time residents could always pull up stakes and move to southwest Virginia. Dan explained that residents are growing tired of "tourists" taking the winding country roads into the foothills of the Blue Ridge and "stopping at every pasture to take pictures of cows and horses." If the ruling is approved, the following wineries, all favorites in the state, could lose business to the point of having to close their doors permanently. We all know that these wineries are the ultimate "daycation" getaways from the Beltway bustle. Please take a few minutes to show your support for these wineries (these are just a few of the wineries that would be impacted): Barrel Oak Winery, Capitol Vineyards, Chateau O'Brien Winery, Cobbler Mountain Cellars, Delaplane Cellars, Desert Rose Ranch and Winery, Fox Meadow Winery, Hume Vineyards, Marterella Winery, Mediterranean Cellars, Miracle Valley Winery, Naked Mountain Winery, Philip Carter Winery, Three Fox Vineyards. Philip Carter Winery has set up a Twitter page containing a template for a letter that can be sent directly to the county Board of Supervisors. Visit their website for this information. Marterella Winery, which recently re-opened their tasting room outside of Warrenton after a tough four year legal battle with the county, provided a link to an online petition . Hopefully in a few weeks, we will be writing about how victorious these wineries were over the "old money" gruffness in Fauquier.

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