Caught With Their Pumps Down

by David Severn, April 9, 2014

Finally some clarity. After years of scratching my head in bewilderment at the seeming ignorance, greed and hypocrisy of both the wine industry and the general public that so lavishly supports it, I think I'm starting to get it, thanks to Russell Crowe and Darren Aronofsky. The roots of wine are Biblical. And that great patriarch of modern humanity, Noah, having won the favor of God Himself, became the first vintner and wine sot. We are now simply walking in the footsteps of our primal Great Great Great, etc., Grandfather. It’s in our DNA. Makes so much sense. But whereas Noah didn't have much of an issue with the lack of water — I'll have to wait for another Hollywood movie on that subject to see if such has been prophesied — that is exactly what is befalling us now, and Noah's legacy only involves the over-abundance not the scarcity of the Sacred Element.

Here in the Anderson Valley, Noah's endowment is carried on by myriad empire growing, mostly domestic, colonists — chief among whom is Dan Duckhorn, patriarch of Goldeneye Winery. I'm told that Dan is a nice guy (like most Mendocino liberals) and that you rarely, if ever, will find him lying naked in his tent. But that doesn't stop the transgressions. In the past we have caught the Duckhorn enterprises illegally transporting water from Indian Creek to a new vineyard they were establishing down by Handley Cellars. Following that we witnessed them destroying an ancient Indian village site at the confluence of Anderson Creek and Rancheria Creek which the previous owners, having completed an archaeological survey, were told to stay away from.

Now we find that they are, in drought conditions, sucking water directly out of the Navarro River. Prior to March 31 they were pumping when the river was flowing at only 30 cubic feet per second (cfs). Currently, even as I write this on April 6, they have been pumping through a 3" pipe 24 hours a day since at least April 3 and maybe even before. The rules for other water takers, in non-drought conditions, is to only appropriate water between November 31 and March 31 and then only when the flow rate is above 200 cfs. With all appropriations stopping on the March 31 deadline. How the Duckhorn clan can get way with their crap, I don't know. Cajones I guess. In a recent chat with a pleasant Zach Rasmussen, Chief Operations dude for Goldeneye, I was asked, “Why are you always after us? Everybody is doing the same thing.” My answer could only be that Goldeneye resides in my neighborhood and therefore is more visible to me. But the question exposes the insidious yet almost invisible cumulative effects of what has become the status quo. “Everybody is doing it.”

Back to Noah. Though I have been known to at times crack open a Bible, in truth I am pretty much Biblically ignorant. So after watching the movie I came home and did what all curious moderns do, I Googled the guy and I learned, among other things, that some apologist scholars have determined that because wine was a previously unknown elixir, Noah had no idea he would get so damned drunk that he would fall unconscious before having the opportunity to pull on his trousers. Wouldn't it be nice if we could catch all of these yahoos with their pants down and expose the industry for the environmental and social atrocity that it has become?

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