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“Chainsaw Wine”

Letter submitted to the New York Times in response to
“Making Wine in a Hostile Climate on Sonoma’s Coast”
written by Eric Asimov, and published by the Times
on January 18, 2006

January 21, 2006

Eric Asimov’s “Making Wine in a Hostile Climate on Sonoma’s Coast” extolled the passion and swashbuckling spirit of those “not in their right mind” seeking to plant cult wine varietals on the redwood forest land of California’s northern coast. Only a few sentences were devoted to the equally passionate local resistance against the environmentally destructive practices many of these entrepreneurs bring with them.

This land rush for new vineyards has spawned plans for clear cutting thousands of acres of ancient coastal forest ecosystems in watersheds that are already fragile from decades of mismanagement. These steep, erosion prone ridges harbor the precious remnants of a once vast redwood forest that are dependent on the same soils and climate that now appeal to the newcomers arriving with a self proclaimed “passion for pinot.”

Before forking over that princely sum for a particular bottle of Sonoma Coast Pinot, make sure that its cost does not include the permanent loss of priceless coastal forest, endangered species and healthy rivers. Please come back, Mr. Asimov, and complete the story of what is being called “Chainsaw Wine” out here in the waning wild west.

Chris Poehlmann,
Annapolis, CA

 


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