Grapegrowers meet to weigh the pros and cons of GMOs

January 14, 2005: Napa Valley Grapegrowers met yesterday to learn the advantages and disadvantages to genetically modified grape plants. The group hopes to make an informed decision before one is forced upon them.

The fight over the cultivation of genetically modified crops in California has grown contentious over the following year. Three counties have already mounted successful campaigns against gm-cultivation despite biotech firms spending heavily to stop them. Now neighboring Sonoma County has turned in signatures to force their own ballot initiative on the subject.

While a decision in Napa does not appear imminent, no ballot measure is expected soon and major genetic advances, such as a vine immune to Pierce’s Disease, are still years in the future, both sides are pushing hard.

The pro-GM side argued a reduction in pesticide use and farmers falling behind the technology curve. While those against sited potential loss of markets.

“The French are going to go ballistic before they allow a genetically modified cabernet sauvignon to be called a cabernet sauvignon. And if you can’t call a cabernet a cabernet, what are you going to call it?” the Napa News quoted Dave Henson, director of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, as saying.

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