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Wineries and Farm Breweries


Below is information related to opening a small winery (producing less than 20,000 cases per year) in the unincorporated areas of Placer County. A flowchart is available that outlines the steps in the review/permit processes described in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section below.

Key Definitions

Promotional Events: An event sponsored by the property owner, an association of agricultural property owners, or similar organizations formed to assist the agricultural industry in the area, to promote the sale of Placer County wines, and which is intended to allow for the sampling and direct marketing and sales of wine produced on the premises or produced elsewhere from grapes grown on site. Such events include "winemaker's dinners."

Winery Ordinance: The Winery Ordinance was created to provide for the orderly development of wineries. The Winery Ordinance does not waive any requirements from the various departments/divisions.

Agricultural Accessory Structures: An uninhabited structure or building designed and built to store farm animals, implements, supplies or products, that contains no residential use and is not open to the public. Includes: barns; grain elevators; silos, and other similar buildings and structures, but not commercial greenhouses (which are under "Plant Nurseries") or buildings for agricultural processing activities (which are under "Agricultural Processing").

NEW! 2018 Winery and Farm Brewery Ordinance Update

Description of Update:

In the years since the 2008 Winery Ordinance was approved, industry concerns regarding the County’s existing Winery Ordinance had been raised, specifically citing a lack of Agricultural Promotional Events allowed without a use permit. Based upon the need to hold a greater number of events by right, staff determined that it was appropriate to re-examine the existing Winery Ordinance to meet the needs of the community and the winery owners. The Planning Commission previously held five workshops and one hearing between December 2013 and January 2016 in relation to the review and adoption of this Zoning Text Amendment. The workshops introduced and analyzed a variety of changes to the proposed ordinance. The key issues covered over the approximate two-year span are summarized in the list below. Public comments provided by the Placer County Vintners Association, Placer County Agricultural Commission, the Municipal Advisory Councils, and community members were taken into account in order to address the diversity of ideas on the subject.

Key Issues Identified during Planning Commission Workshops:

  • Need for consistency, or lack thereof, to Event Center Ordinance
  • Alignment with Agro-Tourism effort
  • Consistency with AB 1233, to address on-premise sale
  • Nuisance & road safety issues caused by events
  • Noise
  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Maintenance of private roads
  • Number of events allowed/year
  • Enforcement

For more information about the previously held workshops, click on the links to read the staff report and visit the Planning Commission archive here for audio and visual of the workshop.

Next Steps:

  • Comment Period for Initial Study/Notice of Preparation (October 18 to November 16, 2017)
  • Scoping Meeting (November 1, 2017)
  • Public Review period for Draft Environmental Impact Report (February 2018)
  • Presentation of draft ordinance to Municipal Advisory Councils (Spring 2018)
  • Planning Commission Hearing (Spring 2018)
  • Board Consideration of draft Zoning Text Amendments (Spring/Summer 2018)

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to have a small winery without a Tasting Room or events. What is required?

If a building is constructed on the site, a building permit is required. A list of typical requirements is available for review.

I want to have a winery and a Tasting Room. What is required?

Pre-Development meeting is required, and County staff will provide you with the standards for a public Tasting Room (list of typical requirements).

What are the requirements for "Wine-related promotional events?"

A Pre-Development meeting is required. Up to six (6) Promotional Events per year are permitted subject to approval of an "Administrative Review Permit (ARP)" (application fee required). Public noticing is required and potentially a public hearing. The events are subject to conditions of approval of the ARP which are based upon the list of typical requirements.

If I want to have two or less "Non-Wine related, non-promotional events," what are the requirements?

Non-Wine related events including weddings, parties, etc. are limited to no more than two (2) per year with approval of a Temporary Outdoor Event permit (list of typical requirements). No public hearing is held (application fee required).

If I want to have "Non-Wine related, non-promotional events" that exceed two per year, what is required?

A Pre-Development meeting is required. Environmental Review is required based upon site specific conditions ("Environmental Questionnaire" and fee required). A "Minor Use Permit (MUP)" (application fee required) must be approved by the Planning Commission (public noticing required). The events are subject to conditions of approval of the MUP which are based upon the list of typical requirements. The applicant will need to obtain all applicable permits and plan approvals (Improvement Plans, Grading Permit, Building Permit, Environmental Health permit and Fire Department approvals).

What are the requirements for a winery that includes a tasting room, wine-related events, as well as non-wine related events?

 Same requirements as those above for "Non-Wine related events" that exceed two per year.

Other Important Information

A valid Building Permit is required before inviting the public into a building.

Fee Schedules

Contact Information