California Winery Industry Services

  • Holland & Knight’s California Wine Industry Services Group is dedicated to assisting California wineries and vineyards, providing a full range of legal services addressing the issues confronting the industry.
  • Because many of the legal issues arising from California’s wine industry pertain to its rich history – from agriculture to real estate to government regulation – our attorneys are specially trained to address the historical significance of your business, as well as its economic interests.
  • Our California Wine Industry Services Group draws from deep alcohol beverage regulatory, real estate, corporate and environmental law experience, as well as multidisciplinary knowledge from throughout the broader firm. We complement our wide-ranging legal experience with extensive knowledge in viticulture to bring the best possible representation to our wine industry clients.

Legal Issues Confronting Wine Industry

Holland & Knight’s Environmental and Land Use Group is dedicated to assisting California wineries, providing a full range of legal services addressing the issues confronting your industry. As part of the firm’s national Environmental Team, our team will assist you with regulatory compliance requirements such as the Clean Air Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, and Clean Water Act (wetlands and wastewater/stormwater discharge issues). Our knowledge of your unique California business enhances our ability to provide you informed counsel regarding real estate transactional, zoning and entitlement work as well as matters involving air pollution, water control (wetlands, stormwater and streambeds) and endangered species.

Air Quality Management Issues

California wineries can expect skillful guidance from our Environmental and Land Use Group concerning environmental law and compliance with federal, state and local air pollution control regulations. On behalf of our clients, we work with air districts and air boards throughout California (e.g. Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District and South Coast Air Quality Management District). Our team has successfully handled permit applications, secured variances, addressed notices of violation and negotiated dismissals of enforcement actions based on flawed air district rules and test methods.

Water Quality Control Restrictions And Opportunities

As environmental concerns over water quality continue to encourage increased regulation and scrutiny, wine makers in California can rely on our Environmental and Land Use Group for current legal information, compliance strategies and defensive representation.

Wetlands

Our well informed team will advise you on wetland issues and environmental law as it relates to your business. Holland & Knight works closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards to obtain federal and state permits, including those allowing discharge into wetlands.

Streambed Alteration Agreements

Wineries requiring the alteration of a stream or any other water body associated with riparian habitats are required to provide advance notification to the California Department of Fish and Game. Working in concert with your business objectives, our team will advise you regarding compliance with this and other provisions of the California Fish and Game Code.

Stormwater

Winery discharges have come under heightened scrutiny in recent years. Our involved and active Environmental and Land Use Group practice is currently aware of local and state regulatory activities that may impact your operations and will assist you with your California compliance requirements concerning wastewater and stormwater discharges.

Endangered Species

California and Hawaii lead the nation with the highest density of listed endangered species.
 
Since numerous regulatory efforts and proposals concerning critical habitats in wine country areas have repeatedly had the potential of affecting winery lands, our team has extensive experience advising the industry regarding compliance with federal and state endangered species issues. Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we have successfully accomplished the following:

  • removed property from proposed critical habitat designations
  • had lands excluded from the final critical habitat designation for the Central Population of CTS  

Working with both the federal and state agencies, we have also accomplished the following:

  • obtained incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act
  • worked with local agencies and project applicants in preparing and complying with Habitat Conservation Plans and Natural Community Conservation Plans
  • assumed a successful advocacy role commenting on, negotiating and challenging proposed air district rules

Handling Real Estate Transactions

When developing new facilities or buying or selling winery land, the transaction presents a host of real estate issues transactional issues. Holland & Knight’s Environmental and Land Use Group provides you informed advice on use permits and variances, CEQA compliance and local entitlement work associated with construction and/or real estate transactions.

Utilization of Historic Property Designations

The California wine industry is historic, and many properties are listed or are eligible for listing on the California and/or National Register for Historic Places, providing a new array of development and tax issues and opportunities. Working with business in the Napa Valley to restore and reuse historic properties, our team has helped wineries exercise these opportunities to their advantage while also receiving the benefits of historic preservation recognition.