Opus One winery in Napa was fined more than $10,000 last week for spilling wine waste into the Napa River.
The incident occurred in October 2016 during the harvest. It was a one-time event for the winery which has been open since 1991, said Christopher Barefoot, vice president, public relations.
“We take caring for the environment and protecting the river very seriously “We’re very upset (at this incident) and have taken measures to ensure it will never happen again,” he said.
Rainwater, which is normally pumped from the parking lot to the river, flooded through a bin holding pressed grape skins, which went into the river.
Someone standing on a bridge noticed color in the river, and after a referral from the Fish and Game Department, the Napa County District Attorney’s Office filed the complaint.
Five thousand dollars will go each to the DA’s office and the other half to the Friends of the Napa River.
An additional $993 will be paid to Napa County’s Planning, Building and Environmental Services department, and $869 will go to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to court orders.
In the Napa Valley, accidents like this happen about once or twice a year, and are nothing unusual, said Paul Gero, Assistant District Attorney at Napa DA’s Office.
Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at Cynthia.Sweeney@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4259.