Thursday, June 23, 2016

Nashoba Valley Winery Owner Faces License Issue That Could Force Restaurant or Winery to Close

A well-known winery west of Boston is going to court over a licensing issue that could ultimately cause at least part of the business to close.

WBUR is reporting that the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) is not going to be renewing all of the licenses for Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton for next year, saying that a Massachusetts business cannot have both a pouring license for a restaurant and a farmer's manufacturing license (in this case, a farmer's winery license). Because of this, owner Rich Pelletier indicates that he would have to either drop the pouring license which would mean that the dining spot on the premises--J's Restaurant--would not be able to sell the farm's wine, or he could drop the farmer's winery license and no longer be able to produce wine. A post from CBS Boston states that if Pelletier is not able to retain both licenses, he may have to close the restaurant around the end of the year--or the winery, according to WBUR--though stopping the production of wine does not seem like a viable option.

Pelletier is now looking to take regulators to court over the licensing issue, but the office of Attorney General Maura Healey is seeking to have the case dismissed because the licenses have not actually been denied for next year as of yet, saying that Pelletier needs to exhaust his "administrative remedies" before going to court. (A hearing on the dismissal is expected to take place June 29.)

Nashoba Valley Winery is a hilltop spot that includes a winery, orchard, tasting area, restaurant, and retail shop; it also hosts functions and events, including weddings, corporate outings, family reunions, private picnics, and more. Its website is at

[June 28 update: A new article from WBUR indicates that Governor Charlie Baker is ready to support legal action or legislation that would make sure Nashoba Valley Winery will be able to continue operating as it has been for 16 years without having to choose one license or the other. The post also shows a statement from Treasurer Deborah Goldberg saying that "My office is working with the ABCC, the Attorney General's Office, and legislators on this issue, actively seeking an appropriate solution. I am confident that we will get there very soon."]

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[A related post from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants): List of Restaurant Closings and Openings in the Boston Area]

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