Saturday, May 23, 2015

Surrounded by Vineyards

Vineyards Surround my Templeton Property

I took the photo below from the corner of Oak View Road and Vineyard Drive, looking across the street toward ZinAlley, Croad, and Aron Hill wineries, and my own home. You'd see my house if you knew where to look. Hint: It's barely visible in comparison to all the larger homes and wineries around it.  Behind me are more vineyards. Perhaps you can see why I take them for granted, since they are just part of my world and I see them every time I go anywhere.

Hwy 46 West Wine Country, © B. Radisavljevic

Not Everyone in Paso Robles Loves the Vineyards

Beautiful as they are, vineyards can be a controversial subject here. The city and county officials almost all love them because they attract tourists. Many residents, though, and some officials, think vineyards use too much water and want to keep more from being planted. They think it's not quite fair that more building permits are given for hotel complexes that will have vineyards on their properties while long-time residents are having their water rationed. Residents either have to let their landscaping turn brown as in this yard, or they have to replace their lawns with something that doesn't need much water.

Brown Landscaping Caused by Drought. © B. Radisavljevic

I can see both points of view, but most of our current vineyard owners use sustainable farming methods, and many even dry farm. Many of the families, like the Steinbecks,  have been growing grapes and making wine here for generations. They are already an important part of our community.

The controversy seems to be more about whether we should let people plant new vineyards. The country recently passed an offset ordinance that prevents people from planting new crops of anything unless they substitute them for a crop growing somewhere else, whether it's on their own land or someone else's.

Note: If you look carefully, at the photo below, you will see my shadow selfie in the weeds on my own property as I look across 46 West toward the vineyards of Rotta Winery. They dry farm their grapes.

Looking Across 46 West from My Back Yard,  © B. Radisavljevic

Do you think growers should be allowed to plant new vineyards during the drought?

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