On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, the Planning Commission will hear three applications for major modifications, all with variances, road exceptions and/or mitigated negative declarations. In light of the groundswell of citizen concerns for our community and our environment, please study the following projects and join us Wednesday in telling our Commissioners what you think. We remind you of APAC Final Recommendation: Avoid the use of variances and road exceptions as a principal tool for achieving compliance with land use regulations.If you cannot attend, please submit an e-mail comment to Commissioner Chair Anne Cottrell, anne.cottrell@lucene.com.

Anthem Winery is on a hillside ridge between Dry Creek Road and Redwood Road. The application is for a large expansion of their winery as well as an additional 1.19 acres of vines in an oak savanna, partially protected by a tree easement. This is yet another winery application that requires a variance and road exceptions and a proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration for Biological Resources, Geology and Soils, and Noise. 

Many consider this as the commercialization of a beautiful, ecologically fragile, quiet residential area. Application facts:

*increase gallonage form 30,000 to 50,000 gallons, only 15% which can be supplied by estate grown grapes if all vineyards are planted. They intend to bring in at least 3 other labels.
*Overly optimistic WAA and questionable water supply. 

*new 10,800 sq.ft. winery, 1500 sq.ft. tasting room, 1700 sq.ft. administrative building, 29,000 sf cave,4000 sq.ft. exterior event areas
*road exceptions, setback variances and viewshed request

*15,532 visitors per year, plus several large events until midnight

*a new bridge to be installed over a steep, remote ravine and on property lines of two neighboring properties.

*120 trees removed

*One way ingress and egress in portions of driveway which requires road exceptions.

*Two recorded easements with neighbors are ignored by Anthem and the County. A tree easement protects the oak savanna of ancient oaks, said to be the highest in elevation left in Napa County, as well as the “meadow and forest conditions” in the easement, which are an integral part of a savanna. The proposed vineyard erosion control plan plants the tree easement as well as shows vineyard roads under the tree drip lines.  The road easement for residential use only cannot legally be used to service a commercial project on another parcel, and yet, this ingress is the first choice for the entry into the winery.  When the County ignores such easements, it burdens neighbors with expensive lawsuits, and this will be no exception.  It is time Planning insists all such legal issues be resolved before recommending a project be permitted.

The planners say: No problem! It can all be mitigated!
Napa Vision 2050 strongly opposes this commercialization of our hillsides. Click here to read our letter with more details.

Anthem Project Page
Neighborhood website: Dry Creek Road Alliance
Bill Hocker on Anthem and these other projects: Anthem Winery at the Planning Commission October 3 : Anthem Winery Page


The proposed Davis Winery expansion application more than triples annual production, nearly doubles cave area, and quintuples both the number of employees and visitors, all equaling huge traffic increases.  Commercial trucking, employees and visitors all further crowd the Silverado Trail.  
Where will the water come from to support increases such as those proposed by Davis Winery?  Do they have a well that can support that increase or will they drain their neighbors’ wells?  Here, too, we have gone beyond carrying capacity.

The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors must protect the people who have lived here for decades.  Their duty is not to commercial growth.

The Davis application to modify previous project approvals asks to allow the following:

*increase annual production from 30,000 to 100,000 gallons 

*expand the cave area from 13,350 sq. ft. to 24,170 sq. ft.

*installation of two outdoor fermentation tanks on a previously approved outdoor work area

*increase employees from 5 full-time to 25 full-time

*increase daily tours and tastings by appointment only from 20 visitors on weekdays and 34 visitors on weekends and holidays to a maximum of 200 visitors per day, 800 maximum per week from June 1 to October 31, a maximum of 100 visitors per day, 350 maximum per week from November 1 to November 30 and February 1 to May 31, and a maximum of 75 visitors per day, 250 maximum per week from December 1 to January 31 (tours and tastings will continue to include food pairing)

*increase marketing events from two per month with up to 50 guests at each event and two per year with up to 100 guests at each event (1,400 guests per year) to 24 events per year with up to 100 guests at each event and 15 events per year with up to 200 guests at each event (5,400 guest per year)

All within the Ag Watershed.
Davis Estates project page


This project is located on a ±114.7 acre site within the AW (Agricultural Watershed) zoning district, on the east side of a private road, ±.9 miles south of its intersection with Sage Canyon Road (State Highway 128), across from the Lake Hennessey boat launch,  This 20,000 gallon winery seeks for approval to: 

*construct a new, two story winery administrative/agricultural equipment storage building

*increase by-appointment tours and tastings

*increase the winery’s marketing program

*add additional employees

*add additional parking spaces

*add on-premises consumption of wine in accordance with Business and Professions Code

*In addition, the project includes a Variance request to allow construction of the new winery administration building/agricultural storage building 118 feet from the private road in lieu of the required 300 ft. winery road setback

*an Exception to the County Road and Street Standard for selective reduction in the width of the private access road

*an Exception to the Conservation Regulations.

Gandona Project Page

These projects are all within our zoned Ag Watershed lands.  Are these expansions appropriate for zoning and location? Do they serve our community or primarily the industry? And what is the impact on our environment?

8 Comments, RSS

  • Bob Dwyer

    says on:
    September 30, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    As a neighbor of Davis Estates, I am opposed to this expansion. The cumulative impacts of winery placement and expansion along this narrow stretch of Silverado Trail are considerable. Is an EIR required for this huge expansion of activity at this site? I would certainly hope that one is required. Traffic, noise, water are all issues. The proposal to increase the number of visitors per year from 1400 to 5400 is bound to impact our rural neighborhood with heavily increased traffic, increased noise and an increased drain on an already stressed watertable. Please deny this request. Bob Dwyer,neighbor

  • Bob Dwyer

    says on:
    September 30, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I have sen a comment to you re: the Davis Estates Winery expansion. I cannot attend the Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday and would appreciate it if you could pass along my comments opposing this ridiculous expansion, thank you. Bob Dwyer

    • Patricia Damery

      says on:
      January 10, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      Bob, Sadly, due to the quantity of spam we have received, I just received this e-mail way too late! But for your information, while we can hand in written comments, we are told that we can no longer read someone else’s comments in these public comment periods. Thank you so much for your vigilance and next time please know we think our spam filter is fixed.

  • Don Scott

    says on:
    October 1, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I live near the new Girard Winery on Dunaweal Lane. I observed water being delivered in a tanker truck on Saturday. Diane Dillon had told me some time ago, that she voted to approve the building of that winery so that she could insert a condition that they could not truck in water. I still don’t understand what that would mean, but she insisted in phone calls that she had voted yes in order to be able to put that constraint on the winery. I called her on Saturday and spoke with her, telling her that they were delivering water already! She told me that I needed to make a complaint, and submit photos. I told her that I was just letting her know what was happening, and that I did not expect the county to do anything to enforce the rule she had put in place.

    • Patricia Damery

      says on:
      January 10, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      We hope that you do take pictures and file them with the County. Also,send them to us. We need Eyes on Napa.

  • Lucretia Marcus

    says on:
    October 1, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    With all the wringing of hands about our shortage of living space for Napa Valley workers,I don’t see ANY provisions for such housing in any of the 3 proposals.

  • Linda Williamson

    says on:
    October 3, 2018 at 12:11 am

    I look with horror at the destruction of the hillsides and the rampant growth of wineries which have become playgrounds for the rich. Our roads are choked with cars of those who can’t afford to live here but must commute. The Silverado Trail is a parking lot at 4 pm. And still there is approval of expansions. When is enough, enough? Do your job. And veto expansion requests from those such as the Davis appeal.

    • Patricia Damery

      says on:
      January 10, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you! We need eyes on Napa’s approvals and then voices!

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