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Lodi Planning Commission approves Eastside winery

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:00 am

In September, a new Lodi winery will be making their own Albariño, Petit Sirah and wine blends in a new Central Avenue storefront.

The Lodi Planning Commission approved a use permit for Gerardo Espinosa to start making wine under the Viñedos Aurora label on his own production site on Lodi’s Eastside.

Espinosa and his family have been making wine since their first 2009 vintage, but in the past have used the crushing equipment at Estate Crush and Fields Family Wines. The label is sold at Aurora at Pamplona Tapas on Oak Street in Downtown Lodi, and at retail stores throughout Lodi.

Espinosa wants to move to Central Avenue so that the winery has more room for production, barrel storage and tasting by appointment.

Espinosa was pleased with the Planning Commission’s vote.

“I didn’t expect it to go so fast,” said Espinosa after the 10-minute meeting.

The winery’s new site used to be a retail store and is surrounded by mixed-use buildings. The storage area in the basement has elevator access, which Espinosa plans to use to get the heavy barrels downstairs.

Like other wineries in Lodi, the waste from grape crushing and winemaking must be removed from the site within 24 hours.

There were no members of the public at the meeting, only Espinosa and his uncle Victor Anaya, who owns the building.

Commissioner Randy Heinitz encouraged Espinosa to participate in events like the Wine Stroll and Wine and Chocolate Weekend to lure more people from Downtown to other areas of Lodi.

“I’m pleased to see you’re venturing beyond Downtown to do this,” Heinitz said. “Don’t let people forget you. Have a presence.”

The vote was approved unanimously. Espinosa plans to move production into the Central Avenue location in time for harvest this year.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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