“Turning Water into Wine” Discussion and Link

I opened the following “Drinking our Rivers Dry” email from Will Parrish. It includes a link to his partner Burl–who was at the Jenner meeting of the Four County Network–and her new album “The Deep Well.” Music and other art forms can be helpful in our growing response to the Wine Empire. Please consider forwarding this widely.


Most of my research in the last month has focused on the economic and political forces that are destroying the waters of many of California’s coastal regions — such as where I live, here in the Russian River watershed.

The drought gets treated largely as a natural disaster. I see it mainly as a systemic consequence of organized greed on a spectacular scale.  One feature of that system is that life-giving water is treated as a commodity for export, piped and drilled like oil, and those with more capital get to drill deeper and out-pump the little person whose wells go dry.

The main face of the problem in many California coastal regions has long since been the wine industry. I wrote the main feature in this week’s East Bay Express, called “Turning Water Into Wine,” about how “the unregulated growth of California’s wine industry in the state’s coastal regions is depleting groundwater supplies and devastating rivers and fisheries.”  Here’s a link:


Speaking of wells, my partner Burl’s band just came out with an awe-inspiringly beautiful new album called “The Deep Well” – http://inleelni.bandcamp.com/releases.

I’ve given several public presentations in the last month or so.  Here in Ukiah, the documentary “Russian River: All Rivers” airs at the SPACE Theater on June 2nd at 6:30. I hope to share some words there, and I’ll also be the keynote speaker at the Four County Network gathering in June, a regional assemblage of people taking on the wine industry’s long-running sociological and ecological reconfiguration of California’s North Bay and North Coast.

Best wishes,