If you like watching the sun set over a glass of merlot in Virginia’s wine country, watch out — those days may be numbered, and your favorite winery’s may be, too.
Fauquier County is still considering shutting down its wineries at 6 p.m., except in special cases, putting your ability to enjoy evening events and wineries’ ability to break even on the chopping block.
The first hearing was back in November, and the county will hold another, possibly final, public hearing on Thursday. Luckily, you can help.
Among the issues:
- Wineries, especially new ones, depend on income from special events, live music, festivals, and the like.
- Wineries forced to close at 6 p.m. have a much shorter day than other businesses, because their traffic seldom picks up until midday.
- This ordinance, if passed, ultimately may be found illegal. But fighting it would cost small wineries substantial legal fees, and the limits on their hours while the law stays in effect could drive them out of business.
- Jobs and green space that otherwise could become subdivisions are at risk. Says a petition, “Fauquier’s 20 family farm wineries employ over 250 people and have together invested over $50,000,000 in preserving over 600 acres in agricultural lands in the county.” Not to mention the tax dollars they provide.