Will clear-cut for wine?

Corporate-owned winery’s right to clear-cut California redwoods to plant grapevines challenged in court

Several environmental groups were recently in a Santa Rosa court in an attempt to stop a Spanish-owned winery from clear-cutting and grading 154 acres of coast redwoods and Douglas firs to make way for a massive vineyard.

A warming climate is spurring winemakers to seek out cooler regions, such as the area in northwestern Sonoma County under question, in which to plant their grapevines, according to NPR.com. “Inexorably, the wine industry is looking for new places to plant vineyards,” said Chris Poehlmann, president of Friends of the Gualala River, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Cal Fire, which approved the clear-cutting project in May 2012.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for Artesa Vineyards & Winery, said, “There are no forests on the site,” because most of the thousands of trees slated for removal are less than 100 feet tall.