California Vineyard Drops Lawsuit After State Issues Reopening Guidelines

Caymus Vineyards in Rutherford, California. (Courthouse News photo/Maria Dinzeo)

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — Prominent Napa winery Caymus Vineyards has dropped its federal lawsuit claiming it was unfairly excluded from reopening following Governor Gavin Newsom’s Monday announcement that all tasting rooms across California can resume service even if they do not serve food.

The renowned vintner’s complaint from May 28 names Newsom and state Public Health Officer Sonia Angell.

Caymus Vineyards’ notice of voluntary dismissal was filed Wednesday in federal court. It noted that state officials had not even responded to the lawsuit, which challenged a May 12 order requiring restaurants, brewpubs, bars, craft distilleries and wineries to remain closed if they do not offer sit-down dining. Its lawsuit said this mandate was unjust since a Napa County ordinance prohibits all Napa wineries from serving food.

Meanwhile, tasting rooms in Oregon were allowed to reopen if they adhered to public health guidelines. Wineries in neighboring Sonoma County were also allowed to reopen because they can offer sit-down meals.

The lawsuit claimed the winery was suffering irreparable harm because of the forced closure, which it deemed an unconstitutional regulatory taking by the government without due process.

“Caymus has suffered significant economic losses related to the ordered closure of its tasting room. Those losses increase each day and continue to rise as the summer approaches. And Caymus has incurred non-pecuniary damages as other wineries are permitted to reopen while uncertainty and confusion impact Caymus’ operations and industry and consumer reputation,” its complaint said.

On June 5, Newsom and the California Department of Public Health released guidelines for counties to begin reopening tasting rooms statewide. It guidelines waive the food requirement, but recommend dispensing with communal spit buckets, offering a clean glass for each tasting and discontinuing tours made up of people from different households. Under the guidance, full tasting service can resume as early as June 12.

A woman who answered the phone at the Caymus administrative office said the winery had no comment.

“Caymus is pleased that the Governor revised state health orders to allow the reopening of all winery tasting rooms, not only ones that serve food. Caymus welcomes the Governor’s decision allowing it, and other Napa wineries, to serve our guests safely,” Caymus’ attorney Philip Miller with Coblentz Patch said in an email.

“Having achieved its goal of ensuring that California wineries are treated equally in reopening their businesses, Caymus sees no need to continue the litigation.”

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