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Coppola denied permission to floodlight winery

A Sonoma County zoning board has denied Francis Ford Coppola permission to illuminate his Rosso & Bianco winery with multi-coloured floodlights.

Coppola, who purchased Rosso & Bianco (formerly Chateau Souverain) in Geyserville, California in 2006, applied for planning consent to install two pyramid-shaped skylights atop his Ross & Bianco winery, and to light them with multi-coloured lights for up to 60 nights a year.

Coppola was granted permission for the skylights themselves, but not the floodlights, as 182 local residents signed a petition expressing concern about the project’s potential impact on traffic, noise and night-time light pollution.

Geyserville resident Malcolm Ross described the plan as ‘bringing Disneyland north.’

The winery’s lighting consultant, UC Davis professor James Benya, said the lights would not be as garish as opponents suggested, and pointed out that the winery is in a valley a quarter mile from Highway 101.

A spokesperson for the winery said Coppola has not decided whether to appeal the decision, as the main purpose of the skylights was to let daylight into the tasting room and reduce energy usage, and the winery will still benefit from this.

Written by Tim Teichgraeber

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