"Environmentalists Fight Vineyards' Spread"
by Terence Shea,|
January 21, 2006
ANNAPOLIS, Calif. -- In the fog-shrouded forests of California's remote North Coast, winemakers believe they've found the perfect terrain to grow the notoriously fickle pinot noir grape prized by connoisseurs.
Vineyard developers are snapping up thousands of acres of redwoods and firs in Sonoma County, with plans to clear the trees and plant the once-obscure varietal made famous by the wine-fueled road trip film "Sideways."
Environmentalists and residents in Annapolis, a tiny town about 140 miles north of San Francisco, are trying to rein in the pinot lovers. They're fighting the conversion of timberlands into vineyards, which they say destroys wildlife habitat, erodes the soil, contaminates the water with pesticides and opens the door to development...
"There are plenty of places to plant grapes in Sonoma County without cutting down redwood forests," said Supervisor Mike Reilly, who advocates more restrictions...
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