HD16 - A Study of Virginia Farm Wineries – 2017 Appropriation Act, Chapter 836, Item 88.

Executive Summary:

Based on the direction of HB 1500, Item 88 #1c (Appendix A), the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry convened a stakeholder panel consisting of individuals from 19 organizations representing a broad range of stakeholder interests in the Virginia farm winery industry. These organizations are listed in Appendix B. With facilitation assistance from the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN), the stakeholder panel developed and refined a survey for distribution to their constituencies with the purpose of identifying key issues and concerns, as well as ideas for possible approaches to addressing these issues and concerns. Six previous studies were used as a foundation for this stakeholder panel and its work. In addition, IEN was asked to research and compile information on ordinances and other local approaches taken by localities where farm wineries are located. Results of both this research and the stakeholder survey were then considered by the stakeholder panel to identify key issues relating to events, noise, and traffic. Through a series of 10 meetings, the stakeholder panel agreed by consensus on the following six recommendations.

Summary of Recommendations:

The Office of the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry supports the following recommendations of the stakeholder panel:


1. The stakeholder panel recommends no additional statewide legislation is needed. The impacts of events are addressed through the existing authorities for regulating events, noise, and traffic.

2. The stakeholder panel encourages localities and the farm winery industry to consider developing protocols or best practices for working collaboratively to support both farm wineries and local residents.


3. The stakeholder panel recommends no additional statewide legislation is needed. Noise issues can be addressed by localities through the currently available authorities that enable the establishment of noise standards.

4. The stakeholder panel recognizes it is important to provide information to localities, farm wineries and citizen groups about the current noise authorities, as well as examples of how different localities are addressing noise.


5. The stakeholder panel recommends no additional statewide legislation is needed. Traffic management issues may be addressed by localities through current authorities. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has current guidelines in place to address requirements for entrances and turning lanes.


6. The stakeholder panel encourages farm wineries, in conjunction with localities, to evaluate and expand existing guidance on events, noise, and traffic for winery start-up and expansion. These resources may include, but not be limited to, information and education about working with localities and neighbors as well as VDOT’s role.

Relevance to other agricultural and agritourism activities: While the General Assembly requested that the study focus specifically on issues associated with farm wineries, the stakeholder panel believes it is important to note these same issues may have the potential to affect other agritourism, farm-based, craft beverage, or rural businesses that use events for marketing purposes. Future deliberations and actions may be applicable and/or have the potential to affect other agritourism and rural-based tourism businesses, not just farm wineries.