- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) - San Diego County officials are considering amending a five-year-old winery ordinance to clarify what it means when wine is labeled as “local.”

By eliminating some costly permits, the 2010 rules made it easier for winemakers to produce and sell their products.

The Ramona area alone saw the number of boutique wineries - small businesses that make fewer than 12,000 gallons of wine per year - explode from two to about 30 in just five years.

But some officials argue the ordinance also brought about rogue wineries that cut corners, weren’t using locally grown grapes, were sometimes rebottling imported wine, and weren’t honoring the spirit of the ordinance.

Many wineries also operate restaurants, book live entertainment and host events on their property. It was becoming less about locally grown grapes and niche wines than it was about the winery experience, supporters of the revisions say.



Opponents of the proposed amendments say bringing in grapes and premade bulk wine aren’t shortcuts but rather legitimate business necessities that are common throughout the industry.

The proposed changes could more strictly define what is and what isn’t a San Diego wine.

“We gave birth to this child, this winery ordinance, and we have some growing pains that need to be dealt with,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said.

The revised ordinance is expected to go to the Planning Commission in early 2016 and to the Board of Supervisors by early April, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday (https://lat.ms/1Nox4a9 ).

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/

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