After pouring $200 million into vineyards across California, Oregon and Washington, CalPERS said this week that it is firing the firm that has been its investment partner and land manager.
The investment has lost 40 percent of its value and was worth $122 million as of March 31, the latest figures available.
The partnership paid $28 million for a 20,000-acre forest in the coastal mountains of northwest Sonoma County. The plan: Clear-cut an 1,800-acre tract, known as Preservation Ranch, and plant grapes on it.
The investors said profit from the vineyard would pay for restoration of the rest of the forest. They also pledged to donate 2,400 acres for a wildlife preserve.
I’m glad CalPERS finally got out of the deal. They should have done so years ago. Preservation Ranch is basically a mountain top removal project. I’ve seen enough of those in West Virginia near where I grew up to know the probable impacts. Instead of digging for coal, Preservation Ranch is leveling mountains to plant grapes. Real “restoration” would be extremely difficult. Read my email of May 25, 2009 on the project.
Read more: CalPERS fires partner in struggling winery investments, Sacbee, 10/14/2011.