Wineries looking to grow

A pair of Naramata Bench wineries are moving through the public engagement process to expand operations.

Moraine Estate Winery is replacing an existing tasting room and patio with a 10,500 square foot facility consisting of a retail, tasting area, manufacturing facility, exterior patio lounge and residence.

The new building will bump up the winery’s interior occupancy load from 30 to 83, and add a 76-person two-level patio.

Building and permitting manager Ken Kunka said they believe the way the building is designed should mitigate problems with increased noise from the patio.

However, he said restrictions on amplified sound outdoors and operating hours should be considered.

The nearby Bench 1775 winery is also seeking approval to extend the closing hours of its outdoor patio from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

In 2015, a proposal from the winery to construct a special events area and outdoor patio was met with resistance from neighbours.

In response, the operation of the events area was limited as well as hours of operation for the exterior patio lounge.

Kunka said over the past two years, the winery has requested “a few, not a lot,” 8:30 and 10 p.m. extensions to host weddings and events outdoors.

“We’ve had no complaints, so we believe they’ve learned regarding the good neighbourliness issues they had in the past,” he said.

Kunka said changes in traffic should, and will be considered during public engagement.

Residents near both wineries will be consulted over the next month, with a final report due before council on April 17.

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