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Wine Empire Compared to Coal Industry

Various people challenging the Wine Empire have described it as an extractive industry. It uses a lot of water and land in industrializing, urbanizing, and commercializing ways. Most of its benefits leave the North Coast into the hands of investors, increasingly from China and elsewhere. Most of the costs are paid by locals, especially those of us who have decided to live in rural areas, often because we love nature. Few young people can buy land here any more to transform it into food farms.

I’ve been re-watching the old film “Songcatcher,” with Aidan Quinn and Janet McTeer. It is partly about the coal industry buying up land in North Carolina, where I used to live. One of the local boys represents that fossil fuel industry. At risk is the Appalachian culture, rich with beautiful music. There is a rich agrarian culture on the North Coast, which is being threatened by the Wine Empire. Though there are differences, the extractive nature of the coal industry with its strip mining has similarities to the wine industry. When the Gallo Empire moved to Sonoma County it began cutting down hilltops to enrich itself. Left uncheck here the powerful Wine Empire would continue to get away with breaking all kinds of laws and ethical principles by hoarding resources.

“Songcatcher” is available through the Sonoma County library, as well as in other ways. It is a moving testimony to Appalachian mountain culture. Our struggle is partly to preserve agrarian culture on the North Coast. It is more than just a political struggle, having cultural and even spiritual dimensions.

Shepherd