by Denis Campbell
I sent much of August and part of September recovering from a nagging, undiagnosed illness I attributed to fatigue, travel and weather after an 11-day race across Western China.
In last week’s series on Mitt’s China investments, I jokingly called the Xinjiang province’s attempt at wine making technically correct but lacking in the heart and soul of a vintner and referred to the after taste in the wine and grapes of the Turpan Valley region.
“When we visited the Turpan Valley on our 11-day media propaganda tour of China in the summer, there were grapes and raisins everywhere. I wondered though what created the after taste from eating them? A natural river runs through the heart of the desert bringing water to a very fertile valley. The Chinese proudly showed off their local wine making ability but like most things it was technically competent without any of the warm subtleties of creating an excellent wine.”
Also in that article I talked about fracking and oil exploration activities being located so close to this natural resource, the water supply racing through the Gobi Desert next to the vineyards and a key agricultural region.
Could it be that since China is so desperate for oil and gas that across this Valley (and too close for my liking) one could see dozens of fracking towers and oil exploitation? Could the massive dormitories under construction across the road to house oil field workers cause a problem because the entire operation is within sight of this grape growing region? As the fracking chemicals leech into the same water growing these grapes, could that partly explain the after taste and 3-week illness after the trip?
Alternet printed an article Saturday by Alyssa Figueroa on 5 Weird and Frightening Effects of Fracking You Might Not Know.
3. Waste-Filled Wine
If you don’t hate fracking already, what if you learned that it can affect wine? Furious? Me too.
Vineyard owners in California are growing increasingly wary of fracking as gas companies begin preliminary operations. Venoco has started exploring Monterey Shale for both oil and gas drilling. Last year, the company filed an application for drilling permits in Monterey County, according to Simon Salinas, a member of the county’s Board of Supervisors, and it already holds hundreds of thousands of acres in the formation, has drilled more than 20 wells and has invested $100 million in oil exploration.
With vineyards and farmlands covering 200,000 acres of Monterey that help make up an $8 billion agricultural business, Salinas told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Anything that can taint our water and food supply could be devastating to our economy.”
Paula Getzelman, a grape-grower in Monterey, said, “If you don’t have a good water supply, your land is worthless.”
Besides fears of contaminated water, Salinas also mentioned that when residents realize the fracking process uses millions of gallons of water that they need for their crops, they will be quite upset.
But even if these threats don’t come to fruition, residents are still concerned that fracking will have a negative effect on their marketability. After all, with cities like Napa and Sonoma not too far away, who’s going to want Monterey’s fracking wine?
Across the country, in Brooklyn, NY, a winery with similar fears about fracking in the Marcellus shale, recently hosted an anti-fracking benefit.
The winery stated on its Web site:
The potential for fracking affects Brooklyn Winery, as we source grapes for our wine from a number of vineyards in New York state and many of our wine bar’s seasonal menu items include ingredients grown on upstate farms.
So thank you Alyssa. And yes, do know that fracking does impact wine and grapes!
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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