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SJC Council Inks Deal with Winery

The 10-year agreement could bring in years of rent and even a cut of the proceeds.

The City Council formally accepted Tuesday a deal with , hosting wine-tasting and special events as early as July.

“All in all, this is a really great use of a historic site that we have in San Juan Capistrano,” said Councilwoman Laura Freese. “I hope that it becomes such a success that it becomes a model for other historical sites” in the city.

Before a special daytime meeting to discuss the city’s budget, the council reviewed the 10-year proposal with Hamilton Oaks Vineyard and Winery of Trabuco Canyon.

Under the agreement, Hamilton Oaks will pay $4,000 monthly for the first two years, $4,500 the next two years, then $5,000 a month during the fifth year. At the fifth-year mark, the winery could back out of the arrangement with six-month notice.

The rent continues to escalate for the next five years, topping out at $6,000 a month in the eighth, ninth and 10th years.

In addition, the city will get 3 percent of the any gross revenues in excess of $1.2 million generated at the property.

“It’s much better than renting it out. The public will be able to come out and enjoy the house,” said Councilman Sam Allevato. Up until the end of 2011, .

The council directed staff to look into hooking the property up to a nearby sewer line and also gave Hamilton Oaks owner Ron Tamez a green light to pursue signage for the water tower.

Tamez said he’s setting an aggressive goal for himself to open the facility, which will include demonstration vines of Mission grapes – the variety first used to make wine at – but “it’s our 10-year anniversary of being in business.”

Mark Bodenhamer, chief executive officer of the , said he can foresee the city advertising itself as the birthplace of the California wine industry.

“It gives us a competitive edge,” Bodenhamer said. “This sounds like a perfect use for this property."

Councilman Derek Reeve agreed.

“This is going to be destination site,” he said. “I expect Hamilton Oaks not to be here for five years, not to be here for 10 years, but for the indefinite future.”

Alberto Barrera May 29, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I wonder if I could get a job at the vineyard portion of the winery.........
Penny Arévalo (Editor) May 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM
It probably wouldn't be very glamorous, Alberto. It's not like you could pour the wine!
Alberto Barrera May 30, 2012 at 02:56 AM
I'm not looking for glamorous, I'm looking for agriculture related jobs and this is so far the most promising, even if it is entirely hands-on.
Matt Gaffney May 30, 2012 at 04:28 PM
This project bypassed the Transportation Commission.
Frank E. May 30, 2012 at 04:36 PM
They bypassed the Transportation Commission because your City Council decided they wanted this use for the property, plain and simple. This is an excellent use of the property but I envision a parking and traffic nightmare when it comes to special events.
Clint Worthington May 30, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Thank God it did bypass the Transportation Commission! Looking at the way yourself and the Transportation Commission handled the Del Obispo railroad crossing, who knows what could have happened. Did you stop to think there was a reason it bypassed the Transportation Commission? How is this a project? This is not more building in San Juan. The Swanner house is already built.
Alberto Barrera May 30, 2012 at 07:36 PM
The Northwest Open space has 2 parking lots, I think they can manage.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 07:39 PM
The council also suggested the winery look to enter some deal with a property that can handle the parking load (say, JSerra, for example) and bus large groups in. No parking is allowed on Camino Capistrano or the Christmas tree farm.

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