Vintage Wine Estates (VWE) is apologizing for the handling of a lawsuit currently stopping construction to eliminate left-hand turns at El Campo Road and three other Highway 101 crossings.
The father of computer engineering freshman Jordan Grant, James Grant, is calling on Caltrans to find a solution to allow the El Campo Road intersection to be closed while working with VWE, who would like to expedite the construction of an overpass.
The open letter from the parent company of Laetitia Vineyard and Winery comes one week after VWE filed a lawsuit against Caltrans in Sacramento Superior Court. Laetitia is located off one of the crossings that was scheduled to close.
VWE President Terry Wheatley issued the letter in response to James’ calls for a boycott of Laetitia.
“Our intent was not to take the safety of the community lightly nor to take lightly the tragic death of Jordan Grant,” Wheatley wrote. “Our intent was to create positive action for Caltrans to evaluate all of the impacts of the closures that are likely to occur … and adopt a permanent solution to El Campo Road access, not only for Laetitia Winery but for the many homes and ranches along El Campo Road.”
In the lawsuit, VWE alleged Caltrans failed to consider alternatives and to adopt feasible mitigation measures. Wheatley wrote in the letter that the lawsuit was intended to urge Caltrans to not settle for a solution that could take more than 20 years to construct.
“This is a solution that will benefit everybody who uses El Campo Road for safe, everyday access to homes and businesses, and most importantly, in case of emergencies such as wildfires,” Wheatley wrote in support of an overpass. “We believe these alternatives should have been adopted as part of the decision to close the four crossings.”
James started a new change.org petition to boycott the winery with more than 2,200 signatures as of Monday evening. In an email to Mustang News, James wrote that the boycott and petition against Laetitia and VWE will continue until construction starts on El Campo Road. However, James said they will not physically picket at Laetitia as a “sign of good faith.”
According to James, CEO and Founder of VWE Pat Roney and Wheatley reached out to him to create a solution together.
“I immediately recognized [Roney] as someone that can be worked with, even though I oppose and disagree with the litigation preventing the safety improvements at El Campo starting [Monday],” James wrote. “I made it clear that I will work with them in getting this resolved but that it needs to be done quickly.”