California Wineries to Level Redwood Trees for Grapes

| by Michael Allen

It's a battle between red wine and redwood trees in Sonoma County, California. Two large wineries are petitioning the state of California the right to clear 2,000 acres of redwood trees.

If the request is approved, it would be the largest woodland-to-vineyard conversion in the Golden State's history,

The Los Angeles Times reports that Codorniu, one of the world's largest wine producers, wants to use land to expand its production of the thin-skinned Pinot Noir grape. Another winery, Premier Pacific Vineyards, wants to cultivate more Pinot Noir grapes and build 60 high-end estates.

In exchange, the companies promise to restore streams, add more than 200 acres to a county park, plant one million redwoods and Douglas firs and make other environmental improvements.

However, environmentalists oppose the idea.

Activist Chris Poehlmann has carried a giant plywood replica of a chain saw to public meetings of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. He has also appeared at the meetings dressed as a 7-foot-tall, 40-pound wine bottle.

"We are not going to let them rip these trees out by their roots," Poehlmann said, "change the soil chemistry with amendments and develop neighborhoods so that these forests will never grow back."

Additionally, has started an online petition to stop developers.

What do you think, should the trees give it up for the grapes?