Antioch residents aren't fine with winery proposal

Despite opposition from some residents, Antioch officials are moving forward in a review of a request to build a winery on unincorporated land and annex it into the village.

At the village board's Monday meeting, trustees approved a staff recommendation to allow wineries within the property's zoning designations. A public hearing also was held regarding the village's annexation of the property at 42150 Crawford Road.

About 12 people were present at both to express concerns about potential increases in local traffic, dispensing of alcohol near their residences and water drainage.

Next-door neighbor Sue Rabkin said opponents have collected 38 signatures on a petition against annexing the property, 21 of which belong to Crawford Road residents.

“We're still trying to fight it,” Rabkin said. “We're still planning to participate in the process to influence (the village board) to keep this as small as possible. We're not giving in that this is a done deal.”

The Trombino family planted its first vines in the spring of 2009. Debra Trombino, one of three people named on the petition to open the winery, said their plan is to open Vigneto del Bino in March 2013 after the second grape harvest.

“The making of wine combines both finance and art, which is appealing to me,” she said. “It's a fun product to make, and for me, the vineyard in itself is relaxing, being out with nature.”

The other petitioners are her mother and father, Donna and Jim, who own the adjacent parcel.

The winery would consist of a 2,000-square-foot structure containing a small office, production room and gift shop. Wine tastings will be offered on-site for $15 to $20. There will be a five-sample maximum, which adds up to about one glass of wine, per tasting. They will serve five varieties of red and white wine.

The family's plan is to have six parking spaces, which the village staff said is in line with regulations.

Because Trombino works two jobs and is also a third-year student in viticulture, the science of wine and winemaking, and oenology, the study of grape cultivation, she said hours will be limited. Most likely, she said, they will be during the day on weekends and early evenings on weeknights.

In the winter, visits will be by appointment only, a winery norm, she said.

Trombino said there has been a lot of interest already from local restaurants.

“I think a lot of people are looking for local products to sell, and wine will fit right into that,” she said.

While opponents have expressed concerns the winery would expand, Trombino said there are no plans to do so “at that location,” calling it a “boutique winery.” The vineyard is on 10 acres, 8½ of which contain the vines.

Rabkin suggested the winery is better suited for downtown where there is more foot traffic, but Trombino said it is common to have a winery near the vineyards because tours are a benefit.

“Our vision for this winery is going to stay the course, and we're just going to do what we think is right for both our winery, our property, and the village,” she said.

The issue is expected to be discussed at the June 18 village board meeting.

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