County: Winery church needs amen from planners

Cellars at Castello di Amorosa /Photo David Ball via Wikipedia

I’ve always thought it was quite cool that the Castello di Amorosa winery in the Napa Valley has a working church. The castle, which I’ve written about before, is a fairly faithful replica of a 13th century Tuscan fortress, which is why it comes complete with a small chapel.

Until recently, Sunday services had been held in the chapel as a St. Helena priest celebrated a traditional Mass in Latin for several dozen or so people. But the Napa Valley register reports that county officials ordered the services to stop because religious services are not part of the winery’s permit.

Coincidentally, another planning issue related to the winery came up recently during arrangements for the winery’s hosting of the June premiere of Pixar’s new “Brave” movie, a private debut reserved for people who worked on the movie. The temporary event ordinance didn’t have a “film screening” category so county supervisors fixed that.

The winery has the option to apply for a church permit, but a spokesman tells the paper they haven’t yet decided whether to do that.

As is often the case, the comments left on the Register story make for some good reading. There’s a wide representation of views from people who are mad the services were stopped to people who like the church but say it should go through proper permitting.

My favorite response came from a reader reacting to a quote in the story from the priest who’d been conducting the services. The priest felt that county officials knew they were getting a winery with a chapel when they approved the plans and should have expected that where there is a chapel there will be church services. But as odiedog52 points out, “there is also a torture chamber with an authentic 300 year old iron maiden.”

Cheers, authentically.

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