MALIBU—Owners of the vineyards in Malibu are at odds with Los Angeles County supervisors due to a possible six month extension of their previously established ban on vineyard expansion.
The issue began back in June, when a 45-day, temporary ban was placed on the opening of any new vineyards and the extension of any vineyard that has already been established. The ban was in response to the number of applications that have been placed since May 2014. On average, only a few applications per year are received, but in 2015, more than 50 applications have been received according to the Department of Regional Planning.
In the official text of the ordinance, Los Angeles County officials cited the current drought throughout the state as one of the main reasons for the ban, fearing that “the development of dozens of vineyards, most using wells to draw upon groundwater supplies, could exacerbate these conditions by causing a significant drop in groundwater levels.”
The final decision on how the current vineyard applications would proceed was scheduled to be decided by a vote on Tuesday, July 28, where it will be determined if the ban will be extended for a period of 6 months.
Many local vineyard owners, including those who belong to the Malibu Coast Vintners and Grape Growers Alliance located in the Malibu Coast American Viticultural Area are upset. They feel that the recent ordinance is discriminatory because the ban has been filed only against the grape vineyards and no farmers and producers of other fruits and vegetables.
The group has created an online petition that has amassed over 500 signatures, with the goal to “Let the Supervisors know that you support vineyards and enjoy the rural character and beauty of vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains.”