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Central California Winemaker Razed Old Oaks To Make Room For New Vineyards

PASO ROBLES, San Luis Obispo County (AP) - A respected Central California winemaker is facing boycott calls after clear-cutting hundreds of iconic old oaks.

Justin Winery west of Paso Robles has been under stop-work orders from local authorities since June 9. That's after the winery's neighbors noticed lumber crews, and hillsides newly cleared of old oak groves for new vineyards.

Paso Robles takes its name from the Spanish for oak pass, and the old oaks provide important habitat. At least four local restaurants told the San Luis Obispo Tribune they would stop offering Justin wines in protest of the oaks' removal.

The vineyards are owned by California billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick. Wine Enthusiast magazine named Justin Winery the nation's best winery last year.

In an e-mailed statement Monday, the winery said it planned to plant 5,000 new oak trees.


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