Winery Shut Down After Years of Operating Without a License, It’s Not the Owner’s First Run-in With the Law
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Winery Shut Down After Years of Operating Without a License, It’s Not the Owner’s First Run-in With the Law

Winery Shut Down After Years of Operating Without a License, It's Not the Owner's First Run-in With the Law

(Photo: Vanessa Sezini/Pexels)

State officials recently discovered a California winery was operating without a license and shut it down. It appears for years the owner Daryn Pastuf allegedly never bothered to get a license to sell alcohol after buying the vineyard. 

The California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) visited Ernest Hemmingway Vineyards in Paso Robles, California after receiving complaints about the business back in January. 

On Jan. 20, three agents visited the vineyard in plain clothes. When they arrived an employee, who turned out to be Pastuf’s bother, asked the agents if they would like a wine tasting and the agents agreed. At the time, there were about six other customers sampling wine according to The Tribune’s report. 

During the tasting, one agent noticed an expired alcohol license framed by the front door belonging to Clautiere LLC. This was the name of the winery previously located at the property before it was sold to Pastuf. 

As reported by The Tribune, the Clautiere Vineyard was sold in June 2019 and five months later Ernest Hemingway Vineyards opened its doors in November. However, there is no record of Pastuf acquiring a license for the new winery.

The agents confronted Pastuf, who told the investigators he thought the license would just “roll over,” from the previous owner and he supposedly bought the vineyard license. Pastuf continued that the vineyard had been closed since the Covid-19 pandemic, but social media posts by the business and Pastuf suggested that this was not true.

This isn’t Pastuf run-in with the law. His business in Nevada had its active status revoked after failing to file its annual report. He also has had four suspended wine businesses in Orange County, California. Pastuf appears to have a habit of failing to file the necessary paperwork for his businesses including the required tax documents. 

More recently, Pastuf and Jennifer McNeal were sued for breaching their contact with a financial company, according to court records obtained by The Tribune. 

Pastuf could face up to a $1000 fine, six months in County Jail, or both for operating without a license to sell alcohol. It is unclear if he will be allowed to apply for a license to sell alcohol at Ernest Hemmingway Vineyards after this offense.

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Jessica Gleman is the managing editor of Rum Raiders. She received her Ph.D. at the University College of Dublin in Ireland, where she studied the archaeology of ancient alcohol. Jessica has a passion for the alcohol industry, including agriculture, distillation and mixology. When Jessica is not writing about rum, she is also a travel and food enthusiast who loves going around the world and experiencing various cuisines and cultures. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge and expertise and learning even more about this amazing spirit.