A master plan amendment and special use permit for a winery that includes a vineyard and tasting room in south Reno were approved Tuesday by Washoe County commissioners, who overturned a denial by a lower board.
Dennis and Tina De La Montanya have been planning the project outside of Montrêux Golf & Country Club on two acres they own off of Bordeaux Drive. They also own De La Montanya Winery & Vineyards in Healdsberg, Calif.
Plans are for a 4,200 square foot building, with construction lasting 12 to 14 months. It would contain rooms for tasting, storage, preparation and production. One acre would be for growing grapes in a fenced area using drip irrigation. There are also plans to sell pre-packaged food, such as cheese, meat and crackers, which would be delivered by a third party vendor. No special events, such as weddings, would be held.
The De La Montanyas appealed the Board of Adjustment’s Sept. 5 denial, which claimed the parcels were unsuitable for crop production and a winery. The impact on a nearby school bus stop that serves approximately 25 children was also cited.
We’re doing a small boutique winery. We’re not doing a bar. People don’t leave inebriated.”
During a public hearing, some Montrêux residents expressed concern about wild animals being attracted to the grapes, people driving drunk and additional traffic.
Nancy Davis told commissioners that there’s been many near misses of bears crossing Mount Rose Highway and that setting traps and putting up electric fences won’t deter animals from crossing the road once they sense the grapes.
“It will create a very attractive nuisance for all the wildlife trying to find food. Nevada Department of Wildlife says get rid of all the fruit off your trees. This is going to be a field day for the animals,” Davis said. “Are you going to have a sign that the bears and deer can understand? ‘Do not cross the highway and try to get food or you may be hit’?”
According to the De La Montanya’s application, the winery would employ four full-time workers, have deliveries one day per week and generate an average of 30 trips daily. Washoe County determined such numbers don’t trigger a traffic impact report. It would be open to the public from April through December. Expected hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and by appointment Monday through Thursday.
Dennis De La Montanya said the Board of Adjustment made decisions based on assumptions, not facts presented by himself and Washoe County staff. He also said he thinks the project is strong and will enhance the neighborhood.
“There’s a giant misconception of what we’re doing,” De La Montanya said. “We’re doing a small boutique winery. We’re not doing a bar. People don’t leave inebriated. We increase property values. If you look at Napa and look at Sonoma, people want to be located next to vineyards and wineries.”
Commissioner Bob Lucey noted the golf club at Montrêux already sells alcohol and that it has members who aren’t residents of the country club who drive in and out of there each day.
“There are many people who go and recreate at Montrêux, drink, then leave the facility on Bordeaux through those gates and drive right past there at any time of day,” Lucey said. “There are no restricted hours of operation at that facility as it pertains to safety.”
The De La Montanya’s anticipate the boutique winery will make fewer than 5,000 cases per year and that grapes from its California property will supplement the minimal crop production it’ll get in Reno.
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.