Business & Regulatory Resources
Under the business practices umbrella are sections with the rules, laws and regulations governing agriculture today. In addition, there will be miscellaneous business topics pertaining to the business of grape growing.
Throughout the year, the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission presents meetings and seminars on a variety of topics with expert and professional presenters. Please check our calendar for upcoming meetings and grower education events and read below for a variety of links and resources related to the business of grape growing and regulations.
There is no shortage of local, county, state and federal regulatory mandates on vineyards and grape-growing. Sonoma County Winegrowers has access to information to help growers stay in compliance. This information will be updated as needed or when new information is added.
As part of any vineyard replant or new development project, a Sonoma County Biological Assessment is now required. It is recommended to contact several biologists for a quote and initial evaluation of the property before engaging their service. The Biological Assessment only needs to be turned in with your permit if additional setbacks beyond the scope of VESCO are recommended by the biologist and/or if your property has wetlands.
Grower questions regarding the process may be directed to Andy Casarez of the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s office: 707-331-3056 or [email protected] Or contact the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission.
Please click below for a general overview on vineyard planing in Sonoma County and scroll down for additional links and regulatory compliance information.
Business & Regulatory Links
Please view links below for deeper information on Labor, Succession Planning
and additional regulatory resources.
Maintaining a stable workforce, securing labor as needed and staying in compliance with a wide variety of regulatory rules and laws are all critical to being a vineyard employer.
SUCCESSION PLANNING RESOURCES
Planning for the next generation of a family business is an important goal of sustainability. SCW has a number of resources available to help you ensure you have a plan in place for the continued success of your organization.
GRADING, DRAINAGE & VINEYARD / ORCHARD SITE DEVELOPMENT
Compliance is now handled at the Sonoma County Ag Commissioner's Office, (not PRMD). Changes to tree removal have been implemented. For more information, please contact Ag Commissioner's office.
AIR QUALITY / OPEN BURNING
Learn about the Bay Area Air Quality Management District rules and how to comply with them, how their inspection process works, and who to contact for questions.
All zoning questions should be directed to the County Permit & Resource Management Department at (707) 565-1900.
Development of any vineyard now requires registration with the Agricultural Commissioner's Office. For further information, please call (707) 565-2371.
UC COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
The Santa Rosa office can furnish advice and offer publications such as "Sample costs to develop and produce a vineyard in Sonoma County," "Rootstocks & Phylloxera," a list of nearby commercial laboratories, and other resources. The office is at 133 Aviation Blvd, STE 109, Santa Rosa, or call (707) 565-2621
SANTA ROSA JUNIOR COLLEGE
There are excellent viticulture and enology courses at SRJC. For more information, phone the Agriculture Department at (707) 527-4408
There is a special fast-track appoval permit process to build barns, other farm buildings and farm workers' housing units, if you quality. Contact the County Permit & Resource Management Department at (707) 565-1900.
PONDS, GRADING AND ENCROACHMENT PERMITS
Where grading or encroachment permits are required for vineyard access roads, contact the County Permit & Resource Management Department at (707) 565-1900. Proposed roads within a vineyard may require a grading permit and proposed vineyard roads that access a county road will require an encroachment permit.
If oak tree removal is planned, contact Permit & Resource Management Department at (707) 565-1900. For permits or any other tree removal for a commercial venture (i.e. a vineyard), contact the California Department of Forestry at (707) 576-2275
FISH & GAME
Many activities along streams and rivers and other habitat areas are now controlled by the California Department of Fish and Game. For information, please call (707) 944-5500
WETLANDS & STREAM ALTERATION
Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jane Hicks at (415) 977-8439, for clarification of wetlands designation and to do any stream alterations, including bridges or bank slope protection.
EROSION CONTROL & WATER QUALITY
The State Water Quality Control Board through its North Coast Region office at (707) 576-2220 also handles issues of erosion control, water quality and pollution.