Ross Brooks

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.

Via Grist

Images by Beedle Um Bum and danwdotca

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19 Comments

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

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

  2. 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 !

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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

    154 acres is not much.

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

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

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

    Good thing they have somewhere we can give them feedback:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/artesa-vineyards-and-winery-napa-2

  13. 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.

  14. gejohnson@bellsouth.net October 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    You can’t drink a redwood.

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

    This breaks my heart.

  19. 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…

    (50/2000=0.025*80=2)

    But hell, what do I know.

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