Fauquier County is now known as Footloose County, named after the famous movie and remake movie about a town that didn’t allow dancing or partying for its kids.  In this case, its the winery crowd who gets their wings clipped.  There are  currently 26 wineries in Fauquier County.

Its rather difficult to understand why Fauquier wanted to take a perfectly good, positive thing about its county and step on it like a bug.  Here are the nuts and bolts of the new restrictions:

Kipp Hanly reported the following in insidenova.com:


If the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors passes a winery-related ordinance this week, Pearmund Cellars owner Chris Pearmund said the county would be tagged with a less than flattering nickname.
Fauquier County will be known as “Foot­loose County,” said Pearmund, a reference to the rigidly conservative fictional place in the 1980s where dancing was outlawed.

The ordinance being considered Thursday would limit the number of events wineries could hold, as well as the number of people they could have at each event.
Pearmund, who used to own Prince William County-based Winery at LaGrange, said he has tasting events that seat 50 people at Pear­mund Cellars. But under the proposed ordi­nance, the most Pearmund could have would be 25 and that number only twice a month. In lieu of that, winery owners may serve food to the general public.
Larger events would need special permis­sion from the county and cost anywhere from $350 to more than $1,000.
Under the Prince William County zoning or­dinance, a restaurant or commercial kitchen is allowed only if the farm winery is more than 10 acres. If more than 150 people are involved, a temporary activity permit is required.
When he built his facility, Pearmund said he worked with Fauquier officials to specifi­cally come up with the number 50. If he is only allowed 25, then he not only loses half of his revenue but half his ability to market his brand of wines.
“That marketing keeps us as a differentiator of quality,” Pearmund said.
Barrel Oak winery owner Brian Roeder took it one step further, stating that the proposed ordinance would put wineries in Fauquier County out of business. Located off Inter­state 66, Barrel Oak is the largest winery in the county, producing 24,000 gallons of wine on the 22-acre property.
Roeder cited a provision in the ordinance that would necessitate winery owners to come before the board for permit renewals every three years regardless of the record of the individual winery. This would hamper his ability to sell his winery should he ever choose to do so, according to Roeder.

Upon further inspection, it appears that an anti growth organization spearheaded the ordiance against the wineries and none of ther Ken Cuccinelli was instrumental in filing suit against one of the former winery owners for violating  the Vir­ginia Consumer Protection Act  for several misdeeds.  Now all the winery owners are being punished and the new set of laws will prevent further wineries from opening up in Fauquier County simply because it will be undesirable to do so.

What a shame.  Fauquier was becoming well known for its wineries.  Winery tourism has sprung up in the past decade.  Charter buses can be seen visiting the wineries on just about any day of the week.  If you are there with friends, some of the charter folks will even come up and help themselves to your picnic if you aren’t careful.  I guess those days are over.   The seniors like to sample whatever is there.

A trip to a winery of your choice can be a fun thing for friends.  One of my favorite Fauquier wineries is BOW, or Barrel Oaks Winery.  BOW is somewhat unique in that it is dog friendly.  Many a wine lover comes to that establishment with the family pooch.  Special wine tasting events are held occasionally for the cost of donation dog food.

Other wineries are thematic.  The Gray Ghost Winery often has Civil War themed events. I have never been to one but they look quite interesting.  Guest authors are on site, historians  as well as period musicians, etc also greet the guests with entertainment and lectures.

Perhaps a class action lawsuit is in order against Fauquier County.  Save the Wineries!  There is always some kill-joy who wants to spoil everything.

12 Thoughts to “New winery ordinance threatens to shut down Fauquier County wineries”

  1. No George? Moe?


    I think this is horrible.

  2. Censored bybvbl

    I wonder how many residences are actually impacted by these wineries. I vaguely recall some brouhaha mentioned in last year’s WaPo about one neighborhood which was fighting to keep a second winery from opening. (I can think of a few more objectionable uses for agricultural land.)

    To be viable these wineries are going to have to host some larger events. Virginia isn’t exactly known for its fine wines. Much of the winery-hopping experience is as much about the companionship, fresh air, and scenic countryside as it is about what’s in the bottle. Fauquier County should consider itself lucky that it still has enough available land close to DC to make winery visits a lure for suburbanites and city dwellers. Even Fairfax County has managed to tuck a couple wineries into its suburban sprawl.

  3. SlowpokeRodriguez

    I think it’s Fauquier County’s business.

  4. marinm

    Government regulations at its finest.

  5. @SlowpokeRodriguez

    You are right, up to a point. Many of us go out to Fauquier County with our Nasty old PWC dollars and drink their wine. We go to events. We enjoy, as Censored has said, the fresh air and the companionship.

    Surely we are entitled to an opinion. Would you vacation in FootLoose?

    Wine is expensive at those establishments. It is much cheaper to head to Giant and buy a couple of good Californias or French wines. Fauquier would be smart to court the tourism.

  6. Second Alamo

    Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you!

  7. I am thinking about the locations of some of these places and I really don’t understand how the neighbors can be in an uproar.

  8. SlowpokeRodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    You are right, up to a point. Many of us go out to Fauquier County with our Nasty old PWC dollars and drink their wine. We go to events. We enjoy, as Censored has said, the fresh air and the companionship.
    Surely we are entitled to an opinion. Would you vacation in FootLoose?

    That’s the thing about the free market. If Fauquier county chooses to enact legislation that forces their wineries to close, then folks will have to take their dirty money to Loudoun county. If that causes an economic issue for Fauquier country, well, they voted for these bozos, didn’t they? And you are entitled to your opinion, but unless you are a registered voter in Fauquier county, then you have to express your opinion with your pocketbook, which isn’t quite as direct as at the voting booth.

    1. Hopefully an opinion counts for something. They care close enough neighbors that they care what Prince William thinks. I would gladly go to Fauquier any day of the week to drink their wine. Does Loudoun even have a wineries?

      Fauquier is deceitful. It is so large and gangly I never know if I am in it or not. Over on the Warren County line it gets real dicey.

  9. SlowpokeRodriguez

    Oh, and if Footloose County had a beach with warm, clear Atlantic Ocean, then yeah, I’d probably vacation there. I go to Myrtle Beach quite regularly, and especially enjoyed going there while their confederate flag controversy was going on. I’ll never forget turning on the local news down there at the time and watching a news anchor interviewing a black man who complained that “they’re oppressing my gender!”. I knew I was spending my money in the right place!!

  10. Elena

    When La Grange was working towards is SUP, our HOA, of which I was VP, worked directly with Chris Pearmund to work out how many events and how big they would be. Here is the issue, the winery is nestled into a community, in fact, my entire development was once owned by the original owner of la grange, all 600 acres.

    Pearmund worked out a fair deal, one we could live with and he could be a successful business. There are constraints, but they are reasonable.

    1. Looking at this from an in town perspective, at what point does what they do impact you? I can understand not wanting to be blasted by someone’s sound system til 3 am every weekend. However, what do you care how many guests they have at LaGrange?

      I think I am turning into Marin. What difference does it make how many guests as long as they fit in his parking lot? What difference does it make what they eat or drink? My libertarian toes are itching. Perhaps there is just something I haven’t thought of.

      I am not sure you have any more right to get out of your driveway than I do out of mine if we are talking about traffic. When I moved into my house, there certainly weren’t charter buses going to Ben Lomond pool and the expanded athletic fields in 2 different spots. They crept in. Now at high tide, you might have to wait to get out of your own drive way.

Comments are closed.