Letter: Saving Land

Letter to the Editor

The vineyard community in Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains is again under attack by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission. 

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s emergency measure 53-B to place a moratorium on vineyard permits in the unincorporated section of the Santa Monica Mountains was introduced six weeks ago with only four days notice to the public. On the surface, the restriction was a knee-jerk reaction playing to the general public’s fears of the drought. It was supported by incorrect data, misleading information and peppered with a lot of maybes, coulds and mights.

The Malibu Coast Vintners & Grape Growers Alliance immediately began compiling a tremendous amount of research to correct much of this misinformation. Sustainably farmed grapevines (as are most of the vineyards in the area) are the best possible use for agriculturally zoned land such as this, and concerns about erosion and water runoff are absolutely unfounded. All of our data has been provided to the Planning Commission and are putting them in touch with independent experts for further research. We firmly believe that if they had the correct information to begin with, this emergency measure would never have been filed. Unfortunately, once the wheels are in motion, it’s difficult to stop the train, and thus we’re in need of your support. 

We’re appealing to the public to show support for us by signing our change.org petition or via the Malibu Coast AVA website.

The Alliance has been working with representatives of the Planning Commission and Kuehl’s office to ensure that they have the necessary facts at hand. Vines have been planted in Malibu since the mid-1800s and it’s an important tradition to maintain. We look forward to helping L.A. County plan for a future where small, family-owned vineyards can coexist with the beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains. 

John Gooden

President Malibu Coast Vintners & Grape Growers Alliance