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News and updates about vineyards in the Sonoma and Napa area

Under California cap-and-trade program, North Coast forests turn carbon uptake into cash

 by Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat, January 3, 2016 [excerpt:] They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but a nearly 75,000-acre swath of redwood and fir forests blanketing the wildlands of Sonoma and Mendocino counties is generating millions of dollars as it contributes to California’s ambitious campaign to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In a reversal of forest profiteering that dates …

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Lytton Pomos buy former Artesa land once slated to become vineyards

The Proposed Artesa Vineyard

by Clark Mason, The Press Democrat, October 17, 2015 [excerpt:] The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians has added remote coastal property to its growing Sonoma County real estate portfolio, including 300 acres once owned by a large Spanish wine company that had a controversial plan to clear-cut timber and plant vineyards there. The tribe, which bought the forest land once …

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Activists see Sonoma County winegrowers’ proposed bill as a ‘water grab’

by Guy Kovner Santa Rosa Press Democrat August 12, 2015 [excerpt] Environmentalists are mobilizing in protest of a would-be bill backed by the local wine industry that would create an irrigation district intended to protect the water rights of about 1,000 grape growers in the Russian River region. . . . The move comes in fourth year of California’s historic …

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Water Wars in California’s Coastal Wine Country

[excerpt] …California’s ongoing drought has hit the region hard, reducing grape yields and depleting the vast aquifer that most of the area’s vineyards and rural residents rely on as their sole source of water other than rain. Across the region, residential and vineyard wells have gone dry. Those who can afford to — including a number of large wineries and …

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FoGR Files Lawsuit over Sonoma County’s Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance (VESCO)

2014 Reservoir above Haupt Creek

Friends of Gualala River (FoGR), along with Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club, has filed a suit against Sonoma County to close a major regulatory loophole. This time it’s not our typical campaign to stop destruction of redwood forest. It’s to fix a serious problem in a Sonoma County permitting process that is allowing developers to circumvent the California …

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Wine industry resists rising tide to regulate groundwater as California drought deepens

Wheatfield Fork, Gualala River, upstream of the Annapolis Road bridge at Skagg Springs Road, August 17, 2013

State legislation to regulate the depletion of groundwater is moving forward as the current historic drought continues and reservoirs draw precipitously down. State water agencies support legislative proposals to monitor and regulate groundwater in the public interest as the drought threatens both surface and below-ground water supplies. But North Coast grape growers and the wine industry are opposed to this …

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Protect state’s groundwater and the public interest now!

Wheatfield Fork Gualala River, August 2013

Friends of Gualalal River (FoGR) is a member of the North Coast Stream Flow Coalition, which supports rational management and regulation of groundwater to protect streamflows. FoGR endorses Chris Malan’s policy analysis and recommendations in her op-ed essay, below. Protect state’s groundwater and the public interest now! by Chris Malan Chair, North Coast Stream Flow Coalition Op-ed published in the …

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Environmental groups’ lawsuit could upend Sonoma County vineyard policies

Chris Poehlmann

by Guy Kovner,  The Press Democrat,  June 13, 2014 [excerpt:] Three environmental groups are challenging Sonoma County’s approval of a 54-acre Annapolis vineyard in a case that reflects long-standing conflict over expansion of the county’s $600 million a year grape industry. If the lawsuit were to succeed, it would wipe out the county’s vineyard development law, itself born amid controversy …

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Artesa vineyard plans near Annapolis shelved

Forest on Artesa Annapolis property

By ROBERT DIGITALE THE PRESS DEMOCRAT June 3, 2014, 7:29 PM [excerpt] Artesa Vineyards and Winery of Napa has shelved its hotly disputed plans to plant a vineyard on forest land near Annapolis and has put the 324-acre property on the market for $1.5 million, the company announced Tuesday. The decision was hailed by environmentalists, who last year persuaded a …

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Permit and EIR Killed for Controversial Smaller Cousin of Preservation Ranch

A version of this appeared in the Sonoma County Gazette By Peter Baye Annapolis, California Artesa Winery’s Annapolis vineyard project has apparently hit the wall. Initiated in 2001, in the early years of Preservation Ranch, this smaller cousin actually completed its long, circuitous permit and CEQA process in 2012 after more than a decade of stalls and reverses. But in December …

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Redwoods for Red Wine

Eight minute video produced for the America Tonight news broadcast on Al Jazeera America. Update: Unfortunately, this video is no longer available. Redwoods for Red Wine (rough cut), produced by Blackbeard Films. For additional information, see: Artesa Sonoma forest-to-vineyard conversion CAL FIRE has approved the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Artesa Winery’s controversial plan to clear-cut 154 acres of coastal …

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Interactive Map of Sonoma County Vineyards

Interactive Map of Sonoma Area Wineries

The Press Democrat analyzed land records on 3,171 vineyard properties obtained from the Sonoma County Assessor’s Office, which were updated in August 2013. The locations of the vineyard parcels were mapped using GIS data from the Sonoma County Information Systems Department. Click on the image below to visit the interactive map on the Press Democrat’s website: Interactive map of Sonoma …

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Interview with Friends of the Gualala River

The Friends of Gualala Team on the Radio

KGUA Radio “Peggy’s Place” January 7, 2014 Listen to the interview on: SoundCloud. KGUA 88.3 FM is a full-powered non-commercial radio station established to educate, entertain and inform. KGUA 88.3 FM will give voice to the people and issues that affect all the coastal residents of the southern tip of Mendocino County and the Northern tip of Sonoma County. KGUA …

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Aerial view of the Artesa Sonoma property

A fly-over of the Artesa Winery / Codorniu proposed vineyard area. Sonoma County Superior Court has rejected the environmental impact report for the project, however Artesa has not withdrawn the application despite widespread public outcry. For additional information, see: Artesa Sonoma forest-to-vineyard conversion Cal Fire approved the environmental impact report for Artesa Winery’s controversial plan to clear-cut 154 acres of coastal …

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Judge Rejects Vineyard’s Environmental Impact Statement

by Chris McManus December 13, 2013 © Independent Coast Observer Reprinted with permission Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliot Daum has sent a plan to clearcut 154 acres of forest near Annapolis back to the drawing board, saying the Environmental Impact Report prepared by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) violates the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) …

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Court Blocks Sonoma Vineyard Planting – December, 2013, Wine Spectator

Judge rules that winery needs to review environmental impact; Artesa argues land is zoned for farming by Kasey Carpenter December 13, 2013 Wine Spectator [excerpt:] The battle over more than 300 acres of undeveloped land on Sonoma’s coast owned by Artesa Vineyards and Winery isn’t over, but environmental groups have won a key round. A county judge has rejected several …

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Ruling deals setback to Artesa’s disputed vineyard plan

by Brett Wilkison December 6, 2013 Santa Rosa Press Democrat [excerpt:] Environmentalists are hailing a court ruling this week that deals a significant setback to a hotly disputed vineyard project in northwestern Sonoma County. If it stands, the decision could serve as a bulwark against the push of vineyards into a mostly untilled swath of the region’s coast range, blocking …

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Court Rejects Plan to Clearcut California Redwoods for Vineyard: Press Release

For Immediate Release: December 6, 2013 Contact: Chris Poehlmann, Friends of the Gualala River, (707) 886-5182 Victoria Brandon, Sierra Club Redwood Chapter, (707) 994-1931 Justin Augustine, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 302 SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliot Daum has rejected a plan to clearcut 154 acres of Northern California redwoods to plant vineyards …

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Protect California Redwood Forests From Winery Development

This is the text of a Petition on ThePetitionSite.com It was posted in November, 2013 and signd by more than 41,000 people. Petitioning: Artesa CEO Keith LaVine Created by Michael Taylor A Spanish winemaker wants to level 154 acres of coast redwoods and Douglas firs to make space for new grapevines in the California’s Sonoma County. The majestic Redwood only …

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