Are Green Pastures Slowly Being Replaced with Vineyards? Is the Dairy Industry Being Replaced by Wine?

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Maybe I’m imaging it, but more and more I see vineyards popping up along roadsides everywhere in California where there used to be dairies, green pastures, or small farms. This vineyard above is back-dropped by dangerously close charred hillsides from the recent Sonoma firestorm. Wine tasting has become a favorite pastime in California. Is this the sign of the times that dairy owners are succumbing to a demanding wine industry by selling or leasing their land?

The number of California dairies has shrunk to 1,331 at the end of 2017 from nearly 1,600 as recently as 2012. Expectations are that by the end of this year the number will fall below 1,300.  LA Times

Or are there other reasons dairy farms are going by the wayside? Is it because of climate change nuts like AOC that want the elimination of cows as part of her Green New Deal?  Or is it California’s new stiff regulations on methane gas produced by cows? Or is it the new tariffs raising the cost of production? Or is it the next generation that doesn’t want keep their parents’ dairy going?  Or is it vegans and the health industry trying to get us to stop consuming diary products? Or are Californians trying to be cool vineyard owners which was glorified in the movie Sideways?  Or are animal rights activists trying to eliminate dairies due to cruelty to animals?  Or any combination of the above causing the number dairy farms to shrink and vineyards to grow? Is there a silent war on the cow?

animal portrait of a brown cattle
Photo by Michael Gane on


Regardless of the reasons, more and more dairy land seems to be getting replaced by vineyards.  Even private acreage, that was once unused, is now being taken over by grape vines. Vineyards are beautiful but require lots of water.  Wasn’t there a drought in California?  How can the environmentalists ignore all these emerging vineyards without crying water preservation or demanding new reservoirs be constructed in California?  After the firestorm in Sonoma County two years ago that wiped out thousands of homes, wineries, and properties, it was a wake up call to California’s drought problem and the governor had to do something!

In a historic vote, the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday approved spending $2.5 billion to help fund construction of four new dams and four underground storage projects — including two in the Bay Area.  The Mercury Times.

But completion of these projects is not estimated until 2028 and, knowing how slow government projects are due to red tape, it will take even longer.  In the meantime, California faces more fires, drought, and water rationing. Too little, too late.

How many grapes does one state need? Is wine in that much demand?  Wine isn’t good for us.  Hypocritical celebrities are buying wineries, despite water shortage, with their own labels on wine bottles as a status symbol.  Wine, although it isn’t mentioned much, can cause a myriad of health issues.  High consumption of wine, like any alcohol, can cause high cholesterol, heart disease, breast pain, weight gain, aching muscles, addiction, anxiety, and some cancers. People in California drink wine like it’s water and go wine tasting like they’re going to the movies. It’s their entertainment.

I’m worried that the day of passing cows grazing by the side of the road will be no more.  Milk will go by the wayside like the hard line telephone in our homes or the VCR. We’ll finally solve the water shortage and end up with a milk shortage.

What ever happened to the slogan, “Milk Makes a Body Good?” Has it been replaced by soy milk makes a body good or wine makes a body good?  I don’t think so.  Milk is nature’s way of feeding young animals and babies. It must be good.

Let’s not get rid of our sleepy cows in California.  They are good for grass fire prevention, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and ice cream.  Everyone loves ice cream!


close up photography of cows
Photo by Kat Jayne on

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