Another winery wants to clearcut redwoods
to plant vineyards—and this time,
the courts might actually allow it
|by Alastair Bland
October 16, 2013
North Bay Bohemian
Redwood and manzanita at the fenced east end
of the Artesa-Sonoma property in Annapolis.
There is no forest among the trees. That’s what state officials have said regarding a large stand of second-growth redwood and Douglas fir near Annapolis that a Spanish-owned winery has proposed to level and replace with grapevines . . .
The project, proposed by Artesa Vineyards & Winery, has been lumbering through the legal process for several years now, and to the dismay of Sonoma County environmentalists, it has progressed almost to the finish line. Now, the only roadblock still in the way is the lawsuit filed against the state by three conservation groups in June of 2012, and which will be heard in the Sonoma County Superior Court this Friday.
. . .
But not all parties seem to agree about what actually constitutes “forest.” The trees in question include thousands of redwoods and other conifers, many between 50 and 80 feet tall. The plaintiffs argue that these trees are valuable because they provide habitat for wildlife, sequester carbon and limit soil erosion.
But in August, the state attorney general’s office submitted a written rebuttal to the lawsuit, stating, “Petitioners are wrong. The project site is not a ‘redwood forest.’ . . . [I]t was completely harvested and converted to grazing and orchard. . . . Conifer timber is now just beginning to recapture the site.”
. . .
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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 redwood forest to plant a vineyard in Annapolis. The EIR claims that the project will have no significant environmental or cultural impacts.