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“Vineyard Infection” Letter and other wine industry comments

Following is Dr. Laura Morgan’s “Vineyard Infection” letter on the possible coastal invasion by more vineyards, published in today’s PD, as well as my response. The link to read the letters and respond also follows. Let’s keep the pressure on. Since some of you were also at the Timber Cove workshop, this letter opens a door for your first-person accounts of that important meeting and what you took away from it.
Write On!
Shepherd

Monday’s Letters to the Editor

Vineyard infection

EDITOR: As an attendee of the Timber Cove public workshop, and as a physician blessed to have been restored to equanimity countless times by our coastal landscape, I must agree with those proponents of vastly more protective language than we have in the new Local Coastal Plan draft (“Scrutiny of coastal planning effort,” Sept. 14).

I hesitate to think the worst of anyone or their interests. People have their own particular backgrounds and ambitions. No one wants to fight. Everyone wants to be happy.

That said, despite the comfort of being in denial for the past few years with regard to obvious signs of population and development pressures, I feel as if my dearest friend has just been diagnosed with a life-threatening opportunistic infection in the form of viticulture.

Richard Charter’s summary of what has happened to undermine the protections intended for our unique and pristine landscape expresses my opinion exactly. I and my family hope that those who bring their personal development ambitions to an ancient and sacred landscape will see the folly of it.

DR. LAURA MORGAN

Sebastopol

Shepherd Bliss • 9 minutes ago
Dr. Laura Morgan’s “Vineyard Infection” letter above is persuasive. It brings her medical experience to the damage that more vineyards and wineries on the coast would do to the forests that would be cut and the increased pressure on narrow rural roads, leading to more accidents. Wine grapes would be an invasive species on the coast that former Supervisor Bill Kortum helped protect 50 years ago from PG&E’s plan for a nuclear power plant.

David Keller’s excellent “After the Grapes Are Gone” Close to Home in yesterday’s print edition of the PD, important reading, was not online. He describes how Sonoma County’s rich ag crops have gone from potatoes to hops, to prunes, to apples, to poultry, etc. Wine grapes are a boom-and-bust crop that will surely bust. The previous crops were mainly food, rather than alcohol. Since 95% of the veggies and fruits sold in Sonoma County are currently exported from outside the county, we could soon have a serious food security problem. One cannot live on wine alone. The water that Big Wine uses for all kinds of industrial purposes would be better spent on food crops. The chemicals used to create vineyards disturb the natural soil and the additional pesticides kill the needed bees. LEAVE OUR BELOVED COAST AS IT IS.

We rural residents in West County do not want Sonoma County to become the Alcohol Capital of California, thus drawing more-and-more tipsy drivers to our delicate, fragile coast.