Money and Business

Lompoc wineries want food options to offer customers

Wineries to hold discussions with city officials

Changes to the Lompoc Wine Ghetto

LOMPOC, Calif. - Wine is the only major attraction in Lompoc's Wine Ghetto but, that may soon change.

"We are basically in a if I would call it a food free zone," says Dan Kessler, owner of Kessler Haak Wines. 

That means no pasta or steak to soak up the wine. 

City zoning laws consider this area to be industrial, meaning wineries on this side of town can only serve wine and not food. 

Those the Wine Ghetto would like to see this changed.  

"We are basically the only one in the area that can't do this and it's a huge problem for us, it doesn't let us compete with our neighbors," says Jason Carter, General Manager of Zotovich Vineyards. 

Carter calls the ghetto a gateway into the city. A place drivers coming from both Highway 246 and Highway 1 see immediately as they enter Lompoc. 

"The concept of food in the wine area is 100% unanimous from the wineries in the area," he says. 

Wineries say adding food options here to the wine ghetto would make Lompoc more of a destination and also increase tourism for the city.

"The more restaurants you have it just builds it as a destination for food instead of detracting so it should be a net earner for everyone," says Carter. 

He and other managers say this would help increase business for the ghetto and not take away customers from the restaurants downtown. 

"We have people coming in here, we have a new Hilton, we have a lot of hotels that need room," says Frederick Reed, General Manager with Kessler Haak Wines.

Those who live in Lompoc are also on board with the idea.

"Food trucks come in, you could spend more time here, it would be a little bit safer and then you catch a ride home," says Brian VanDelist, a Lompoc resident. 

Carter says if the idea is approved they would still need to sort out what kind of food options they would be serving. Whether wineries would open up full kitchens or allow things like food trucks. 

"I know lompoc is trying to become more of a wine city, in the ghetto, so the food trucks would add to that," says VanDelist. 


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