This letter concerns the recent story in your publication about Malibu wineries and vineyards. In my opinion, it seems quite astounding that an entire article could be written on the subject without even a mention of George Rosenthal, who is the person most responsible for putting Malibu wineries on the proverbial map. However, the author devoted a large portion of the story to a viticulture “expert” who does not appear to have produced a single bottle of wine. Additionally, I am curious as to whether your reporter actually visited the site “adjacent to” (actually belonging to) Saddlerock Ranch where Mr. Schaefer has supposedly planted 7,000 vines. Although I have not been up there for a couple of months, there certainly was nothing approaching 7,000 vines when last I looked. Additionally, as a former vineyard owner myself, I do have an idea of how much land would have to be devoted to 7,000 plants. The area that was cleared for Mr. Schaefer’s endeavor could not accommodate that number — 7,000 grapes, yes, 7,000 vines, no, unless they are to be planted within a foot or so of each other; hardly standard practice, and the water source (a well, I believe) would be hard pressed to provide the vast quantity of water required by so many plants.
It is unfortunate that people’s statements may not always be completely accurate, and that actual legwork is required to confirm their veracity. If, indeed, The Malibu Times is the hard hitting newspaper you seem to wish it to be, it should hold itself to a higher standard of publishing than that required by a “local rag,” and make fact checking a requirement of good reporting, not an option.