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:
FAUQUIER CO., Va. —
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.