Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Winery in Fairfax County?

In recent days, the Washington Post, Fox5 and WAMU have all run stories about the controversy surrounding Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, VA. Supporters of the winery claim that it could be a boon for area tourism, could help preserve one of the last rural parts of Fairfax County (I didn't know there were any rural parts of Fairfax left) and further develop Virginia’s wine industry.

Opponents, on the other hand, are worried that a winery will lead to increased traffic and an increase in drunk driving. And of course, local politicians are getting involved. Fairfax County Zoning officials claim that the winery is actually a manufacturing plant, not a farm, and therefore should not be given a permit.

With the issue getting media attention, with residents, elected officials and others all having their say, it is worth it to step back, see where the Virginia wine industry has come and assess the merits that another winery will have for the region. Personally, I am of the opinion that Paradise Springs should be allowed to open as a winery. There is no big surprise there. However, I am curious how a winery in Fairfax will affect Virginia's wine industry in terms of labeling. Will Loudoun COunty want to get an appellation classification for itself? Will Fairfax be able to produce quality wines? Will there be other brave souls to follow Paradise Springs' lead? Can the county even support more wineries?

All those questions can only be answered if Paradise Springs is allowed to open. It seems like it is a good idea and will preserve what little open land is left in the county. I would much rather let the proprietors do what they want with their land, contribute to their local economy and help the state’s burgeoning wine industry than have the land divided up and sold to developers who will likely build more McMansions, strip malls and congested roadways.

If you live in Fairfax and have an opinion, one way or another, on this issue, please contact your elected officials and let them know your opinion.


In other Beltway Bacchus news, TechAdventureDC was last Saturday and it was a great time! Thank you to everybody who participated and especially to Rappahannock Cellars and their friendly and knowledgeable staff for making the event such a success.

More detailed posts on both the event and Rappahannock Cellars will be going up in the weeks to come.

1 comment:

  1. The unfortunate reality is that wineries straddle a line created in zoning law. If they just wanted to sell the grapes to another winery, they're agricultural. Somehow, pressing the grapes and fermenting the juice makes them "industrial." I hope the local government critters see the positive direction this venture could take the county and allow it to happen. But then, when was the last time local officials had anything resembling vision?