Sometimes NIMBYs are a force of good, ladies and gentlemen! Case in point: At least 30 people showed up to speak in opposition of a plan for a new tasting room for Guy Fieri's burgeoning winery operation in Santa Rosa. As the Press-Democrat reports, the assembled pitchfork clan "said the commercial operation and calendar of events envisioned by Fieri, a Food Network star and Santa Rosa restaurateur, was out of place in the area."
Fieri, a Ferndale, CA native, has been trying to get this winery off the ground for two years since purchasing the vineyard property in 2013, but he did not appear personally at the meeting and perhaps his attorney, who did, was seeing the writing on the wall after a petition was submitted to the zoning board with 200 signatures in opposition. The board ended up voting 5-0 against the project.
Santa Rosa's planning director noted this is the first time he's ever seen a unanimous vote against a winery.
Concerns largely stemmed from Fieri's fame, obviously, and the tourist draw that would likely entail, bringing unwanted traffic and unwashed, spiky-haired masses to the quiet environs of Willowside Road. Fieri and co. planned to have 14 annual events at the proposed Hunt-Ryd Winery (named for his two sons Hunter and Ryder) with upwards of 100 attendees at each, and as the Press-Democrat notes, "The proliferation of special events at rural wineries has emerged as a hot-button political issue, sparked by hundreds complaints to the county about unpermitted gatherings and lax enforcement of existing event limits." Some unprecedented action was taken against Bella Vineyards recently over large events that they were throwing inside and outside their large wine cave off West Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg.
Fieri's team still will have the opportunity for an appeal.
Fieri hasn't had the greatest year, PR-wise, after having to close one of his Sacramento restaurants, and after having his New York restaurant recently mocked on Comedy Central. And who can forget NYT critic Pete Wells' scathing takedown of the place from 2012?
Perhaps Santa Rosans just aren't ready to taste Fieri's "Super-Kickin' Power Punch Pinot," as Eater jokes. Also, maybe Fieri's brand of bro-tastic wine tasting belongs over in central Napa? Or Sacramento? Just sayin.