Mountain Winery Annexation Project
More than a year ago, the City began the process of annexing the Mountain Winery into the Saratoga City limits. While many people already associate this iconic vineyard and concert venue with Saratoga, it is actually located just outside the City limits in unincorporated Santa Clara County. Historically, the City has had no land use control over the operations or past expansions at the Mountain Winery. In recent years, the County has approved significant changes at the Mountain Winery, including the construction of 5 new buildings and an addition of hundreds of seats to the concert bowl with no Saratoga control. Bringing the Mountain Winery into Saratoga would give the City an opportunity to control the future of this significant commercial property in the hillsides.
As part of the annexation, the City engaged in a public process to create a draft plan that finally limits opportunities for future development to a specific area and would ensure a large percentage of the property remains in its current state. That plan provides an opportunity for the Mountain Winery to propose future lodging that would be limited to 300 rooms and subject to the City’s thorough design review process.
A timeline of major project milestones, past community meetings, and upcoming Planning Commission and City Council hearings is below:
|September 5||City Council requested information about the process to annex the Mountain Winery|
|March 20||City Council provided direction to begin the annexation project|
|May 6||Joint City Council and Planning Commission Site Visit to the Mountain Winery|
|May 8||Neighborhood Meeting at the Mountain Winery|
|June 5||Community Meeting to provide information and receive feedback on new General Plan and Zoning designations|
|June 11||Joint City Council and Planning Commission Study Session and presentation (PDF)|
|July 3||City Council meeting to accept scope of Environmental Impact Report (EIR)|
|July 17||Public Scoping Meeting for Notice of Preparation of EIR (PDF)|
|October 30||Draft EIR Released|
|December 3||Community Meeting on Draft EIR|
|January 22||Planning Commission hearing on General Plan/Zoning amendment and Final EIR|
|February 6||Community Meeting|
|February 11||Planning Commission second Site Visit|
|February 12||Planning Commission continued Public Hearing|
|March 18||Tentatively scheduled City Council hearing on General Plan/Zoning amendment, Final EIR, agreements, and resolution for Sphere of Influence (SOI) and Urban Service Area (USA) change|
|March||Tentatively scheduled to submit SOI/USA amendment application to Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)|
|June||Tentatively scheduled LAFCO Board hearing for SOI/USA amendment|
|June||Tentatively scheduled City Council annexation hearing|
Mountain Winery History
The Mountain Winery’s history in the Saratoga hills dates back long before the City of Saratoga was established. In 1878, Paul Masson arrived in San Francisco from France and began working at the winery of Charles Lefranc, located here in in the Santa Clara Valley. After finding success developing a world-class, locally-grown champagne, Paul Masson decided to build his own winery in the Saratoga hills in 1905.
The Mountain Winery was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a California Historic Landmark. Paul Masson saw great success over the years, and also experienced challenging times during the prohibition era. In 1936, he sold the winery, then in 1958, a concert bowl was constructed, and the now famous Concert Summer Series began.
The Mountain Winery is now a world-renowned venue for concerts, weddings, fundraisers, graduations, corporate events, and more. In addition to the beautiful courtyard, concert bowl, and original Masson summer home, the site has been developed to include wine tasting, event spaces, and additional buildings to accommodate the venue’s many operations.