|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] There is Blood in your wine (We like our bears on flags)
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Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] There is Blood in your wine (We like our bears on flags)
From: Ruben Safir
Organization: Brooklyn Linux Solutions
X-Mailer: Ximian Evolution 1.4.4
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 18:52:36 -0500
Posted on Mon, Dec. 26, 2005
Bears and grape growers prove a bad mix in wine country
NAPA, Calif. - Grape-munching bears have caused bunches of trouble in
Northern California wine country.
Some winery owners have summoned authorities to trap and shoot black
bears - as well as wild pigs, deer, turkeys and mountain lions - that
plundered their vineyards. The killings have sparked debate over the
future of wildlife in the nation's most famous wine-growing region.
"Certainly for areas like Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa counties, vineyards
are our largest group that is requesting depredation permits," said Eric
Larson, deputy regional manager for the California Department of Fish
With premium Cabernet grapes that can be produced only in mountainous
regions selling for $5,000 to $7,000 a ton, vineyards have sprouted on
slopes and ridgetops where animals make their homes. The state is
required to issue extermination permits if property owners show evidence
of damage caused by wildlife, Larson said.
Earlier this year, animal control officers caught and killed four black
bears - two males and two females - at the Aetna Springs Vineyard in the
rugged Pope Valley. Winery owner Paul Maroon said he had tried scaring
off the bears, but resorted to getting rid of them for good because he
feared they might hurt his field workers.
"They damage the fences on a daily basis almost faster than we can
repair them," Maroon said. "The damaged fences allow the deer to enter.
The bear eat the grapes, as do the deer, and they both damage the vines,
sometimes killing ... old vines."
But some of Maroon's neighbors are outraged by the trappings. Ann
Curtis, who runs a golf course down the road from the winery, called the
controversy "wine for blood, life versus profit."
"To come into a wildlife area and then kill off the wildlife is wrong,"
said Curtis, who has lived in Pope Valley for 34 years. "I don't see
much difference between throwing a sandwich out the window for bears in
Yosemite (National) Park and inviting them to dinner here by putting
grapes out for them to eat."
Jerre Sears, owner of Black Sears Vineyards on Napa County's Howell
Mountain, said all the growers he knows on the 1,800-foot peak shrug off
the grapes they lose to bears and other wildlife as a kind of tax for
doing business in hillside territory.
"We've had our vineyard for 20 years and we've had a bear in our
vineyard every year," Sears said. "We feel it's just part of life, of
nature, so we share."