Spanish Winemaker Obtains Permission to Cut Down 154 Acres of California Redwoods

by , 10/27/13

Friends of the Gualala River, Sierra Club's Redwood Chapter, The Center for Biological Diversity, Artesa Vineyards and Winery, Sonoma County, Calfornian Redwoods, 154 Acres of Redwoods, Deforestation in California,

As California’s wine industry continues to grow, vintners are searching for suitable areas to grow grapes outside of the valleys and closer to the coast. But Spanish winemaker Artesa Vineyards and Winery is taking this quest too far with plans to destroy 154 acres of coastal redwoods and Douglas firs to make space for new grapevines. With one study indicating that areas suitable for vineyards in the world’s major wine-producing regions could shrink between 19 and 73 percent by 2050, it’s likely that the situation will get worse before it gets better.

Friends of the Gualala River, Sierra Club's Redwood Chapter, The Center for Biological Diversity, Artesa Vineyards and Winery, Sonoma County, Calfornian Redwoods, 154 Acres of Redwoods, Deforestation in California,

Artesa Vineyards and Winery already has permission from California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to cut down thousands of trees in Sonoma County. Not taking the news lightly, environmentalists are suing the agency on the grounds that the approval violates the state’s environmental laws. Up to 80 feet tall, redwoods provide crucial habitat for local wildlife and protect streams from erosion.

Speaking with NPR, Chris Poehlmann, president of a small organization called Friends of the Gualala River, says the wine industry is creeping toward the coast as California’s interior valleys heat up and consumers show preferences for cooler-weather grapes like pinot noir. Sam Singer, a spokesman for the winery argued that the trees are only 50 years-old, which means there are technically no forests on the site. He went on to offer the concession of sparing two trees from the site that can be defined as “old-growth.”

Friends of the Gualala River, Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter, and The Center for Biological Diversity are the three organizations that filed a suit against the winemaker in 2012. Redwoods are the tallest trees on Earth. They can grow to be more than 350 feet tall, and live as long as 2,000 years. If the suit proves unsuccessful, it would be a huge loss to the ecosystem of Sonoma County, and an even greater blow for the moral standing of big companies.

** UPDATED 10/2014: Artesa Vineyards and Winery announced in June 2014 that its 324-acre property near Annapolis in Sonoma County is no longer part of its growth strategy and has been put on the market for sale.

Via Grist

Images by Beedle Um Bum and danwdotca

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  1. Robert Gomez May 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

    By the way, next time before you write a headline using a nationality as the first word, get your FACTS STRAIGHT! The winemaker is Portuguese not Spanish, If you went to Artesa Vineyards web site you would know this…Ana Diogo Draper

    Artesa Winery Director of Winemaking

    Born and raised in Portugal, Ana moved to California in 2005 to join the team at Rutherford Hill Winery. In the course of her eight-year tenure she was promoted from harvest intern to Lab Manager, and finally, Assistant Winemaker. She joined the Artesa winemaking team in 2013 as Assistant Winemaker and then Director of Winemaking in 2015. Known for her collaborative approach, she thrives in the fast-paced winery environment and excels at a wide diversity of experience from quality control assurance to creative applications such as sensory analysis and blending.

  2. Fred Flinstone April 29, 2015 at 1:57 am

    this news is from 2012 with the last update 2014 … dont get yer shorts in a bunch

  3. Wayne Butzer April 28, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    If we can make wine in northern minnesota, you idiot, self centered icko can find a less destructive place. crap this feels like the bitch killing big beautiful animals and taking photos next to the beautiful wild animals for sport. seriously, cutting those redwoods it lacking commpation,even if new trees were planted, we will not benifit as those trees are 300 years old. for a bottle of wine? shame on you.

  4. Karen West April 28, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    This is the most ludicrous thing I have ever read. Tell the Spanish wine maker to go back to school and learn about what he is going to do. One Redwood produces somewhere between 500-600 liters of oxygen (at 1 atm pressure) a day. He is not only making mammals, birds and insects lose their home, he is taking much needed trees that supply oxygen to every living thing on earth. We seriously don’t need another wine bottle on the shelves of the stores…there aren’t enough shelves to hold everyone made. Buy land in Spain and move your company, California is in a drought anyway and you can’t water. I don’t buy ANY wine from California…mine are imported or not at all.

  5. Victoria Jensen April 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    If this is true and really happening, where are all the activist and their voices at. I am from Calif and let me say, those trees are one of the best part of my childhood memories. Would be a damn shame for anyone to cut one tree down, much less acres of them. What the hell are they thinking. I pray this will not happen. Would love for my grand children to grow up knowing these great national treasures.

  6. Jon Myatt April 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Fortunately, it was stopped in October 2014. All of these comments after October 2014 are from people that never actually read the article. So in the end, right wins out. Great work by our friends in environmental conservation that watch such goings on. Cheers!

  7. Ted Mason April 28, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Artesa Vineyards and Winery needs to be boycotted. Greed is all they are interested in. Boycott them. I have circulated this article to my 800k followers already.

  8. kbarnesbutler April 28, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    REGARDING YOUR CURRENT POST: Spanish Winemaker Obtains Permission to Cut Down 154 Acres of California Redwoods
    Spanish winemaker plans to destroy 154 acres of redwoods trees in California\\\’s Sonoma County.

    This was posted in 2013 and it is now 2015; people are interested in knowing who has this property been sold to, and if the redwood trees will be preserved. Thank you, Karen Butler

  9. Tracy Nickels April 28, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    First a bunch of Italians want to build a mall in the Grand Canyon. Now Spain wants to chop down our red woods Who the bloody hell do they think they are? IT’s the GOPS that are doing this. They want war and destroy our lands. I would tell them HELL

  10. Deb Peet April 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm


  11. Edward Dawkins April 28, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    it doesn’t seem to matter what you are destroying to get the bottom line but you have to consider what you are destroying one of the great wonders of the world.i saw these amazing trees when i was a kid and so impressed with the awesome sights and the thousands of years that these trees took to grow. i don’t know what some people are thinking — you know i do know what they are thinking when they set out to destroy a great wonder and that is greed but at waht cost ???

  12. Emily Reinhart April 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    notice the update at the bottom people…

  13. Willa Grant April 28, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Clear-cut Winery? Holy smokes.

  14. Tod Forquer April 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Boycotts don’t work, have you seen Chik-Fil-A sales recently? If the trees are under 80′, they’re new growth, I’m not crazy about the idea, but it’s only 150 acres, that’s really not a lot of land.

  15. Craig Schaffer April 28, 2015 at 11:42 am

    are you fucking crazy? to let those asses cut down trees it took so long for it to be that old why is this country so bent on descruction why can’t we work with nature? Is it because the people in charge have no feelings for nature? then get rid of those people not the God given trees. wise up quit destroying our planet!

  16. Cynthia Grossman April 28, 2015 at 11:30 am

    “** UPDATED 10/2014: Artesa Vineyards and Winery announced in June 2014 that its 324-acre property near Annapolis in Sonoma County is no longer part of its growth strategy and has been put on the market for sale.”

    Does this mean the trees are safe?

  17. Ned Rollins April 28, 2015 at 10:27 am

    This is just part of the mindset that nature is a commodity.
    It mindset follows right in line with the oligarchic view that people are work units.
    As long as we allow ourselves and our brother and sister living bioenergetic units (that we should be respecting and caring for) on this miraculous Eden planet to be invalidated, this kind of sick behavior will exist.
    This planet is not a commodity.
    Leave the trees alone. Get spiritual. Drink water (if you can find any that is unpolluted).

  18. Mark Packer April 28, 2015 at 10:12 am

    This is reprehensible! Too bad we can’t “clear cut” the businesses and politicians that allow this to happen. I honestly care more about the trees than I do these people.

  19. Donald Luck April 28, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Tree Huggers 1 Wineos 0

  20. Erto Muggler April 28, 2015 at 8:38 am

    MONEY, MONEY and MONEY -let’s shoot ourselves if it gets us some MONEY …

  21. Todd Huddleston April 28, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Did Bill and Hillary help broker that deal too?

  22. John Piwaron April 28, 2015 at 7:27 am

    No! Leave the redwoods alone.

  23. Betty Murray April 28, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Absolutely unacceptable .. cutting those magic trees would be a sacrilege . California wonders why no rain ?? cutting the trees makes a huge difference .

  24. Vladimir Cymbal April 28, 2015 at 12:45 am

    There must be money trails to a politician or government official either prior to the approval or shortly thereafter. The corruption in local, state, and federal government is rampant. There has to be lots at stake to be able to beat the environmental lobbies.

  25. Christian Tack April 28, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Dude and nobody wants you to cut down trees so that you an plant new trees so that we can have another fucking bottle of wine on the shelf in some grocery store. Get real. Figure out some other way to waste your money and make people happy. Nobodys going to buy your shitty wine when the guilt strikes fear in their hearts.

  26. Ole Wiseman April 28, 2015 at 12:19 am


  27. Barbara Johnson April 28, 2015 at 12:16 am


  28. Donna Shrock April 28, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Are these people crazy?You don’t cut down the Redwoods!I saw the Redwoods in 1991,and I have never forgotten the experience.Someday I wish to take my grandson.

  29. Leila Roberts April 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Please update: who has bought this land and what are their intentions for it?

  30. Jessica Jazzman April 27, 2015 at 11:56 pm


  31. Daniel Orey April 27, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I would so support any boycott of these guys… this is so wrong and heartbreaking

  32. Brandon McDonald April 27, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Transplan all the trees, encircle the property, yes. Execellents, for every time>

  33. Heidi Bresilge April 27, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    My beef isn’t really even with Artesa, even though they first planned on the destruction of all those trees. The real problem is with the Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection!!! HOW and WHY could they even entertain such a horrible thought!?!?!?!? If ‘development’ does go throught with Artesa, or any other company that would hack down such trees, we all need to speak out and tell them that they will be boycotted!! Hit them where it hurts! In their wallets!! That’s the only place they have any feeling!!!!!!!!!!! Makes me sick!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Josh Fuller April 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Hey get can we get some kind of petition going on this nonsense?

  35. Mark Herkimer April 27, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Are you kidding me cutting down 154 acres of red wood trees is one of the most stupid things I ever heard. They can\\\’t make wine that does not contains poison. But now they are going to cut down trees older than the USA….. WTH is next

  36. Ring Huggins April 27, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Ok all you tree hugging people in Brewster County, Texas protesting the proposed pipeline to Mexico, here is something in dire need of protesting.

  37. Thomas Fonseca April 27, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Boycott wine – that is what I am doing.

  38. Sydney Jewell April 27, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    This makes me physically ill… and completely baffled how our government can possibly think that this is ok??????! what the hell????!

  39. Jay Piper April 27, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Guess I have to make my own wine from now on, utterly unacceptable!

  40. Afsaneh Rahmani October 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

    WE are the most dangerous beast! WE kill animals for fun, WE pollute the world, WE destroy environments, WE don’t give anything back to the world but waste, destruction, and death!!! Do you know the most #1 problem with planet earth is? WE EXIST. That is the #1 problem: WE EXIST TO DESTROY, and why? We have the so called “brain” to do it!!!

  41. Evie Mehiel October 17, 2014 at 4:23 am

    This makes me sick!!! I am so tired of loosing our wildlife and land to money hungry companies or corporations!!! There is more than enough bare land around the world that they don’t need to destroy the friggin’ REDWOODS!!!!

  42. Artesa October 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Artesa Vineyards and Winery Refocuses on Successful Napa Operations

    Sonoma County Property For Sale—Annapolis No Longer Part of Future Growth Strategy

    Artesa Vineyards and Winery announced in June 2014 that its 324-acre property near Annapolis in Sonoma County is no longer part of its growth strategy and has been put on the market for sale.

    Artesa, owned by Familia Codorniu Raventos of Spain, opted to sell the property as it continues to focus on its successful Estate vineyard in Carneros, Napa County.

    “The Sonoma site was a stunning setting, but we’ve decided to sell the land as part of our continued focus in Napa Valley,” said Arthur O’Connor, President of Artesa. “We believe this repositions Artesa to realize the goals that have been set for the winery, its customers, and our brands.”

    Artesa bought the Annapolis parcel in November 1999 with the intention of using 173 acres for a Pinot Noir vineyard. The property was completely logged prior to its acquisition about 40 to 60 years ago. Previously, it was used for sheep grazing and apple orchards until the early 1960s. Several old apple trees remain, but the orchard has converted back to mostly grasslands.

    “We’ve been working since 2010 to realign our vineyards with our brand strategy,” O’Connor said, explaining that the company has already sold its Ridgeland Vineyard in Alexander Valley as well as its Foss Valley Vineyard in the Atlas Peak region of Napa. “The sale of the property near Annapolis helps us complete that process.”


  43. Rhonda Kloster October 15, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    I love wine of many different varietals but this is wrong!

  44. kelly wheeler October 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    it*s simple, boycott artessa wines…sometimes our only recourse is to not put money into their pockets…and let them know, you cut trees, we cut out artessa wines…

  45. Robin Ray October 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Oh Hell No!

  46. Lauren Cooper October 13, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    We don’t need more grapes!!!

  47. Greneggsandham October 12, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    So apparently this is not happening. How come Inhabitat are recycling an old story without including the crucial fact that it is not going ahead? Do they care? Are they incompetent or dishonest? and Social Issues-article-2394.html

  48. Natasha Dolgushkin October 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I messaged the winery and I posted on their Facebook page. If we all keep posting on their Facebook page they won’t be able to keep up and delete them all. I posted and added it in comments on their posts.

  49. Jyanzi Kong October 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    The temple of heaven in Beijing was reconstructed in 1888 with red wood!

  50. Sandra Bowen October 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    How about a petition?

  51. mfdave August 29, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    People – quit screwing around and display your satisfaction on their facebook page!

  52. teri corrigan August 29, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    PLEASE ! STOP STOP STOP ! Think about it… 1000 years, that is a long time to live , let alone the time to grow to the amazing size they grow ! STOP !

  53. William Snelson May 11, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    To the people that think its ok to cut down red wood trees….. You should be ashamed of yourselves cutting down majestic trees in search for MONEY… i will do everything in my power to see that NOONE i know EVER buys your product. If i see someone with your wine in there basket at the store I will inform them of your horrible business tactics.. I hope you go bankrupt AND SOON…,. Thanks William G. Snelson

  54. Keyser Sose May 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    The title is a little misleading, while Artesa has Spanish owners, it’s an American Winery. This is an opportunistic company trying for a land grab during a water crisis hoping it would have slipped through the cracks. I am baffled how this was approved.

  55. John Paul Crawford May 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Oh hell no!
    Go back to Spain and fuck up your own ecosystem. You are no longer welcome here.

  56. Alley Colberg May 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    If you click the winerys name itll take you to the website, at the top is written ‘contact us’ … yay!

  57. offthewall March 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    And they offer to leave 2 trees! Oh come on! Indigenous trees for wine that can be grown lots of other places? Leave it to us to destroy rather than create, maintain, or conserve. Pathetic.

  58. Robert Huffman March 6, 2014 at 1:23 am

    154 acres is not much.

  59. ecosteps October 29, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Many questions – can the author look further into how this got approved?
    I smell a bribe

  60. Debra Pease October 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Need to link to find out what I can do to help stop this insanity. Redwoods are almost gone as it is. To destroy more is plain wrong!

  61. ecosteps October 28, 2013 at 9:11 am

    This is more than heartbreaking, as mentioned below.
    we need to send a msg now to boycott this winery and all associated with it immediately.

  62. robbomacrae October 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Good thing they have somewhere we can give them feedback:

  63. Mindy k October 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Wine is not necessary. The forest are. There should be no discussion. This is just another example of foreigners raping American resources. Our tax dollars are probably paying for it.

  64. October 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    WTF??? How can someone from Spain get that kind of permission???

  65. solutus October 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Artesa: You just shot yourselves in the foot. In all honesty, anyone I know who hears about this would never set foot on your vineyard or buy your wine ever again. Protecting the redwood forests is more important to probably the great majority of the population than whether or not you make a little more profit by cutting that forest down.

    Is anyone looking into whether Artesa is up to date on all its licenses and complying with all known regulations and laws?

    Let’s make sure everyone knows that Artesa doesn’t give a shit about the redwoods. What would be useful is a graphic showing this. E.g., the Artesa logo sitting crookedly on to of a pile of fallen trees.

  66. theloudvoice October 25, 2013 at 3:46 am

    This is one of the main problems of our species – our endless consumption. Rather than cutting down more forests to make room for vines/beef/corn/cotton/wheat/rice etc etc so that prices can remain low, i.e. increase supply to meet demand, we need to figure out how to control certain aspects of our consumption so that we pay the real price for things. And we need to slow down global population growth. We can’t keep expanding and hope that the limited resources on earth can sustain the greed of first world countries. You want cheap wine? Then the forests have to go.

  67. RelayerM31 October 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    You can’t drink a redwood.

  68. artwmn October 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    This breaks my heart.

  69. sir0bvious October 24, 2013 at 1:53 am

    So, according to the spokesperson, cutting down acres of 50 year old trees is ok to grow their business.

    That’s the same as saying its ok to abort a daycare of 2 year old children in order to make room for the high end restaurant…


    But hell, what do I know.

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