After a back-and-forth with the Town of McCordsville, Daniel’s Vineyard announced Oct. 29 it will close to the public.
For a year and a half, Daniel’s Vineyard owners Dan and Kim Cook have operated the winery and tasting room at 9061 N. 700 W. in McCordsville. Since its opening, the winery has blossomed into a popular event space for weddings, live music and more.
The Town of McCordsville and Daniel’s Vineyard have had issues since earlier this year when town officials fined Daniel’s Vineyard for violating its noise ordinance that prohibits sound, such as live music, to be heard within 20 feet of a neighbor’s property line.
The ordinance was drafted by the town when neighbors made complaints about hearing noise from the vineyard’s live-music events. After receiving the fines, Daniel’s Vineyard first either moved its “Summer Weekends” concert series events indoors or cancelled them.
“When we formed the business plan years ago, we were zoned for an outdoor performance pavilion,” owner Dan Cook told Current. “As a winery, music is a very large component of our business.”
The noise ordinance passed by the McCordsville Town Council gave no measurable decibel amount for sound restrictions, forcing the town to reevaluate the ordinance and work toward making an amendment to it.
On June 12, the council formed a committee to work on the amendment. However, more than four months later, the council has not passed an amendment and the ordinance remains law as originally written.
“It is still ambiguous, and at this time, nothing has changed,” Cook said. “However, we have tried several things, including talking to neighbors directly, turning down the music, making sure the concerts ended at a reasonable time, redirecting speakers, etc. The current ordinance states that if they (the neighbors) can hear it at all, then it is a violation.”
“We had several meetings, and were working toward finding an agreeable and measurable decibel level. However, that never came to be,” Cook said. “They are still working on a subjective ordinance.”
The McCordsville Town Council released the following statement on the issue:
“We have been informed by Daniel’s Vineyard that they are closing their winery to the public on Nov. 1 due in part to the enactment of a noise ordinance. For clarification, the revised ordinance has not yet been voted on by the town council. 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, aggrieved neighbors, the owners of the winery, supporters of the winery and representatives of our police commission are all members of the committee. 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. The amended ordinance is intended to replace an existing ordinance. However, Daniel’s Vineyard made their decision based on their business plan.”
The announcement from Daniel’s Vineyard also cited other issues as a reason for closing to the public.
“In addition to the subjective ordinance, we applied for an artisan distillery, (which) passed 6 to 1 at a town council meeting,” Cook told Current. “But eventually, we were unable to move forward due to irrelevant questions and restrictions not pertaining to a distillery.”
While public events will discontinue beginning Nov. 1, Daniel’s Vineyard will solely focus on private events, its Cellar Club memberships and wine distribution.
“We appreciate all of our guests and employees who have made Daniel’s Vineyard so successful since we opened to the community in May 2017,” Cook said. “When Daniel’s Vineyard was established in 2010, it was zoned for a restaurant, winery, performance pavilion and brewery, along with a few other things … it is in the best interest of Daniel’s Vineyard to close our current location of the tasting room to the public and explore other locations. We feel this action is necessary to keep Daniel’s Vineyard successful.”