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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