Napa County Winery Audits: What are the odds?
Each year Napa County sends out notices to 20 wineries that they have been selected to be subject to the annual winery audit for compliance with their individual use permits. The County sent out its most recent notice on January 17, 2014 asking for information about annual production, visitation and custom crush activities. The letter requests that the information be submitted within 20 days of receipt of the letter, so most of the wineries will have already responded by now. Planning staff will compile the information and present it to the Planning Commission this summer.
After the Commission considers and discusses this year’s audit they will select a new list of 20 wineries for next year’s audit. The names of the audited wineries are kept confidential.
Some winery owners may wonder what the chances are they will be picked for an upcoming audit. With over 430 permitted wineries and only 20 selected to be analyzed, some owners may be comfortable that the chances are fairly slim. Actually, they should not get too comfortable, because once selected for an audit, a winery is exempt from future audits for the next 7 years. That means that 140 wineries are ineligible for being audited in any given year, which increases the chance of the remaining wineries to be chosen. On average, about one out of every 14 wineries will be chosen to be audited in any given year.