by Clark Mason, The Press Democrat, October 17, 2015
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 owned by Artesa Vineyards and Winery, has been vague about its plans for the property near Annapolis, making some neighbors uneasy.
“They are tight-lipped about things,” said Chris Poehlmann, president of Friends of the Gualala River, which fought the Artesa plan to clear 154 acres of second- and third-growth redwood and fir trees and former orchard land to grow premium pinot and chardonnay grapes.
A spokesman for the Lytton Pomos said they have no immediate plans, but wouldn’t rule out putting in vineyards on the property that the tribe bought for $1.4 million from Artesa’s corporate parent, wine giant Grupo Codorniu. The tribe also is in the process of buying another 34 contiguous acres for approximately $900,000, which it said has more cleared area suitable for planting grapes.
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The same environmental groups that battled Artesa’s plan also fought against Preservation Ranch, a much larger vineyard conversion near Annapolis. They cheered when the site of nearly 20,000 acres ended up being bought for $24.5 million for conservation purposes.
The hilly range is dotted with smaller tracts of wine grapes and orchards, but environmentalists are wary of more vineyards that draw on the water supply, potentially impact fish and bring commercial activity to the narrow roads.
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To read the entire article, visit the Press Democrat: Lytton Pomos buy former Artesa land once slated to become vineyards