Where exactly is the proposed location of the project? The winery entrance is proposed to be on Dustin Rd., two miles off of Highway 99 between Acampo Road and Peltier Rd. (See map below). The entire project area is bound by Acampo Rd on the south, Kennefick Rd & private residences on the west, vineyards to the north, and Dustin Road to the east. If approved, all three main Wine Trail exits (Woodbridge, Acampo, and Peltier) will lead to the massive winery.
How big is this project? Its huge. The project is a mile in length and ½ mile in width. Nearly 65 acres of vineyards would be paved for industrial structures such as wine tanks, massive warehouses, bottling lines, parking lots, etc. Over 200 acres are proposed to remain as vineyard used for industrial waste water distribution; however, Woodbridge Mondavi needed to remove vineyard and replace them with raised sprinklers because the discharge was killing the vines. Would that happen here as the winery grows in size and/or expands? No guarantees it will stay vineyard.
How does it compare in size with other Lodi wineries?
According to the SJ County's Winery Ordinance, a small winery is any facility producing less than 220 tons, a medium winery is between 220 and 550 tons, and a large winery produces greater than 550 tons. At this time, the County has not determined an upper limit on what a large winery is. According to their permit application, Gallo is proposing to produce over 150,000 tons (about 27 million gallons)!!! That's about 270 times bigger than the lower limit for 'large' and simply does not fit in the same category as a winery producing 551 tons. This proposed facility is a 'mega-winery'. We only have a few even close to this big: Woodbridge Mondavi (Woodbridge Rd.) and Trinchero Family Winery (the huge unmarked facility along the west side of I-5, north or Turner and south of Woodbridge Rd.).
Would there be any wine tasting or marketing events? No. This would not be a marketing facility. There would only be an industrial wine factory, associated buildings, large office building complexes with a guard shack at the entrance, and waste water processing acres.
How large would the structures be? Gallo has not submitted any elevation information, but based on other industrial mega wineries, we can expect the tanks and structures to be at least 4 to 5 stories tall. There has been no information on how tall the warehouses and offices are designed to be, so they could be similar in size to the structures you can see at the Trinchero project off I-5 and Woodbridge Rd. Trinchero's warehouse is about twice the height of the tanks, which could be 8 to 10 stories high. Plus, areas of these structures would need to be illuminated during all hours of the night, 7 nights a week.
How much traffic would there be? At build out, for nearly 4 months of the year, Gallo estimates upwards of 225 trucks coming and going per day. That is 1 truck passing by every 2 ½ minutes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plus, the large number of employees both coming and going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For the other 8 months, Gallo estimates upwards of 45 trucks per day, which would be 1 truck passing every 15 minutes along with employees working 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Roads will have to be expanded and traffic lights would likely need to be installed. We have not been provided a break down of the truck traffic to see if these estimates include traffic associated with other facility operations, such as bottling glass trucks, pumice hauling, etc. Traffic impacts could be much larger than Gallo's initial application estimates.
What is wastewater? Water that is used in the winemaking process that includes washing and rinsing of tanks and lines. Not all Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) can be eliminated and some could be left as potential pollutants to be deposited on the surrounding lands, maybe eventually something like those surrounding Woodbridge Mondavi. Winery waste water is fairly clean, but even small amounts of dissolved salts and pollutants could build up in the soils over time and have a negative impact on soil quality and eventually groundwater.
How much water would this project use? It’s hard to know exactly, but a typical winery can use 5 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of finished wine. This facility will be producing nearly 30 million gallons of wine. That will be over 3 times the amount of water the current vineyard requires! We know that Gallo had a test well dug to over 1,600 feet. That would make it one of, if not the deepest well in the region. Add to it that on average over the past 50 years our groundwater has been dropping 1 foot a year. This could have a very negative impact on the regions groundwater and neighboring wells that max out at 180' to 300'!
What are some of the unforeseen impacts of allowing this project at this location? E & J Gallo winery is not likely to be the last wine making facility of this size and magnitude proposed in the Lodi region. Where will the next big mega-winery be proposed?
Should large wine conglomerates choosing to build new facilities in the Lodi region be allowed to plop down anywhere that is convenient for them? Or should the County be proactive in planning for better placement given the recent growth of wineries in Lodi?
With industrial scale wineries comes LOTS more traffic, larger power lines, power substations, light pollution, noise, smell, lower property values, and the loss of beautiful vineyard landscapes supporting our burgeoning wine agritourism.
Proper planning for proper placement of industrial scale mega-wineries is a must! The County needs to hear your concerns!