We wanted to inform our readers of the continue saga affecting Katherine Marterella and her Marterella Winery. The Marterellas have been locked into a bitter 5 year litigation feud with the The Bellevue Landowner's Council Inc., the managing property owner's association where the winery is located. Apparently the property owner's association does not like a farm winery in their backyard even though they have not challenged another winery, Mediterranean Cellars, that is located directly across the street from Marterella. Well, on July 1st, a jury ruled in favor of Marterella Winery after deliberating for less than two hours. The ruling declared that Marterella could sell wine at their tasting room without interference from the homeowners' association.
However, in a case of judicial activism, a judge in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit issued an order overturning the verdict claiming that "the on-site retail sale of wine is not an agricultural activity". According to Anything Wine, the court used Webster’s New World Dictionary, 3rd Ed. in order to define "agriculture" and "retail". Oddly, the court did not use the State Legislature's definition of "Farm Winery" codified in Virginia Code Section 15.2-2288.3 that declares "the agricultural nature of … activities and events" relating to the marketing and sale of wine at Virginia farm wineries. We wonder, why not? And where are the Virginia political leaders who boast that they support farm wineries?
The Marterella's have expended close to $300,000 defending their right to operate as a farm winery. We urge readers to visit the winery and support her cause - buy some wine. We just finished a bottle of their Sangiovese - it was excellent.