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McCordsville winery to close tasting room, discontinue public events

October 29, 2018

A McCordsville winery is closing its tasting room and canceling public events amid an ongoing battle with the town over a noise ordinance.

Daniel’s Family Vineyard & Winery, which opened in Hancock County in 2010, announced Monday it was shutting down its tasting room and discontinuing all public events, including a summer concert series, as of Nov. 1.

Going forward, the family-owned business will concentrate on only three services: private events, Cellar Club memberships and wine distribution, the winery said in a statement.

“We have loved serving the community and hosting thousands since opening a year and a half ago, but without the support of the town council of McCordsville, where the vineyard resides, we have to re-evaluate our business plan,” owner Daniel Cook said in written comments.

Cook said when his business opened, it was zoned for a restaurant, winery, performance pavilion and brewery. But restrictions made by the town have taken a toll on business.

"Due to the new restrictive noise ordinance enacted by the town of McCordsville, along with constraints and difficulties with other issues presented by the town council, it is in the best interest of the Daniel’s Vineyard to close our current location of the tasting room to the public and explore other locations," he said. "We feel this action is necessary to keep Daniel’s Vineyard successful.”

The vineyard first opened in 2010, planting 40 acres of grapes at 9061 N. County Road 700W that were processed off site. In 2016, the business announced it would open a nearly 10,000-square-foot building that would serve as a tasting room, event venue and production facility.

Since then, the vineyard has hosted a variety of public events, including outdoor concerts that drew complaints from neighbors as early as a few months after it opened.

Last year, adjoining property owners approached town officials about enacting some sort of noise ordinance, complaining that the concerts were too loud and ran too late. In February, the town council amended its noise ordinance to state if the music could be heard 20 feet outside a homeowner’s property line, it was too loud.

In June, on the opening night of its summer concert season, the vineyard was cited for violating the ordinance, winery representatives told IBJ. The winery moved following concerts indoors.

Daniel’s Vineyard representatives complained that neighboring communities don’t have noise ordinances like McCordsville's measure. Most ordinances, they said, usually specify a decibel limit, hours of operation or more objective limitations. 

Following the incident, the town council held a public hearing to reconsider the ordinance, and the town council ultimately decided to form a special committee of council members, neighbors and winery representatives to draft a revised ordinance.  

Town manager Tonya Galbraith told IBJ the committee is still meeting to discuss the new ordinance, and nothing has been presented to the town council. The committee is slated to meet again Tuesday.

“An ad hoc noise committee was established in early summer and they have been working diligently on the issue of how to preserve the peace and quiet of surrounding neighborhoods and to support Daniel's Vineyard,” members of the town council said in written comments posted to the town’s Facebook page. “The committee is to meet again to ensure that the decibel levels that may be proposed work for the vineyard and for the neighbors. As representatives of the town, we strive to work for our residents and our businesses.”

In his statement, Cook said Daniel's Vineyard will still be a part of the community, hosting private events, including corporate events, weddings, and not-for-profit organizations' fundraisers. The Cellar Club will be revamped to include several new social events just for members, and the winery will continue to make wine available locally and regionally through its website, local restaurants, sporting events and at grocery and liquor stores. 

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