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San Joaquin County To Vote On Winery Events Moratorium

LODI (CBS13) - The wine business is booming in Lodi but now there could be a crackdown on the celebrations. After more than a year of debate, the wine region could be hit with a moratorium on winery events.

As you might expect, with winery owners, this is going over as well as a spoiled syrah. Winery owners say it's like pouring profits away.

"It's a huge job killer, I believe, for our local industries here," said Pat Patrickson, Lodi Chamber Of Commerce.

San Joaquin County planners are preparing to put a cork on the number of events its wineries can host. Proposed wineries would be barred from having any wine events, while existing wineries wouldn't be allowed to add any events to what they already offer.

"It really punishes the whole industry, holds us hostage, and takes away the momentum that Lodi's created through millions of dollars of investment," said Patrickson.

The San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation has been pushing the change, and is concerned wineries are turning agriculture land into party zones with too much traffic and noise.

"You know, I think, maybe, some landowners like it quieter," Lodi resident Barry Drebert said.

"It should be a win-win situation for the entire community," said another resident.

San Joaquin County is becoming a recognized wine region around the world. Over the summer, it even attracted a delegation from China -- here to buy lots of Lodi wine.

The 100,000 acres of vineyards in San Joaquin County are larger than Napa's and Sonoma's land combined. Wine enthusiasts argue the new cap on wine events will be a buzz kill for many others as well.

"For restaurants, hotels, for limo drivers, photographers, on and on and on," said Patrickson.

For now, it looks like the Lodi's wine industry is being put on ice.

There are 85 bonded wineries and 50 tasting rooms in San Joaquin County.

The San Joaquin County Planning Commission is set to vote on the moratorium on Thursday.

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