County May Shut Down Wine and Sunsets in Virginia

Sunsets on the patio

Sunsets on the patio

If you like sipping wine at sunset at wineries in Virginia’s Fauquier County, you might soon be out of luck.

Tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Warrenton, a public hearing will take place on proposed new zoning ordinances that would limit wineries’ ability to hold events, especially in the evening, and would put the kibosh on outdoor music.

There are 17 wineries in Fauquier, and they have a lot of events. One would think they might also bring a lot of business into the county, but perhaps this is about something other than common sense.

I heard about this issue through a Facebook message from Barrel Oak Winery, to which I’m partial, and which is open late on weekends. Owner Brian Roeder says this ordinance “is so extreme that it will put many wineries out of business.”

If there are loud, raucous parties going on out there after hours, for sure I’ve missed them. I’ve been out for wine at sunset several times over the past two years and recommended it in my piece on Sky Meadows. I’ve never seen anything but a calm, quiet crowd drinking wine, listening to local musicians and (horrors) occasionally laughing while the sun slips behind the mountains and the moon rises over the fields.

I’ve also heard great things about the special dinners, including summer ones in the vines, at Pearmund Cellars.

If you’d like to be able to experience evening winery events, come to the hearing or contact the Fauquier Board of Supervisors. You can find out more on Barrel Oak Winery’s Facebook page.

An area resident since 1997, Donna C. is a DC outsider. When she’s not running her writing and Web business, she’s running around the city, exploring the great outdoors, or trying to figure out how best to go green. See why she loves DC.

13 thoughts on “County May Shut Down Wine and Sunsets in Virginia

  1. All the more reason to go to Loudoun? I dunno, this sounds pretty stupid and nannyish when it comes to alcohol, which describes Virginia pretty aptly.

  2. Donna-

    Thank you! Tom & John, if yuou haven’t been to Fauquier’s wineries then you should come out. Please do not take business away from family wineries just because of stupid ordinances. In fact, the ordinance has not yet passed and we are trying to educate the leaders in the county. We need you help and support. In fact if this time restriction passes in Fauquier it is likely to be copied in other jurisdictions such as Loudoun. Then we’re all out of luck.

    Please help support family wineries in Fauquier!

  3. I live in Fauquier and the wineries host superlative events and activities. They are my first choice for a quiet evening with friends-and the crowd clears out politely at 9 o’clock or so. This ordinance will shut down valuable revenue-generating opportunities that keep Fauquier green, encourage tourism, and provide locals with venues that encourage keeping the dollars at home. Either the Board has specifically chosen to ignore this, or political donors have their hands in the Board’s pockets.

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  5. In my experience, most people visit wineries during the day anyway. Plus, wineries don’t typically attract raucous adults(except for maybe one or two bachelorette parties). This just seems silly.

  6. First, you can’t make coffee in the nude in your worn home, and now we can’t drink wine and listen to local music out in the country?

    Virginia = FAIL

  7. This is an insane proposal, please show up at the meeting tonight and make your thoughts known. Don’t let bureaucratic bullies ruin it for everyone else.

  8. I know a couple who bought a farm in Fauquier County last year, with the dream of starting a vineyard (they’ve already planted hundreds of vines). From what I’ve heard from them, there are many fuddy-duddies who want things to stay the way they were (were being 40 years ago). So, while this news is sad, it’s not surprising.

  9. I wonder where the fear is coming from? What are the perceived problems that have generated this kind of response?

  10. Thank you so much for posting this and for supporting our family owned and operated Fauquier wineries. We need your help! Fauquier’s proposed Blue Law will have a substantial and devastating impact on many of the wineries in the County.

    Philip Carter Winery (Fauquier County)

  11. Ann-

    The fear comes from past experience with one winery that is now out of business. Here’s a link to a very good article on this issue:

    The key quote is: “Is there potential for substantial impact? Absolutely,” says Zoning Administrator Johnson. “That’s really what the ordinance is trying to do. If they [the wineries] don’t hit that level of impact, then they are allowed by-right” to host events.”

    They are trying to pass an ordinance based upon potential impact. But there is in fact no impact. No complaints in the past year!

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