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Wine Spectator: Texas Vineyard Owners File Lawsuit Over Herbicide Drift

March 31, 2022

Calais Winery is one of the dozens of Texas wineries and vineyards that have been impacted in recent years by herbicide drift from cotton fields in the High Plains region. The impact varies from vineyard to vineyard, but nearly every property in the 12,000-square-mile appellation has suffered some damage, including stunted development, reduced yields, poor-quality grapes, and even vine death. “If the vines die, then what?” asked founder and winemaker Ben Calais.

The owners of 57 vineyards in the High Plains say they are trying to prevent a catastrophic ecological ruin of the state’s $13 billion wine industry. They filed a lawsuit last summer against Bayer Crop Science and Monsanto Company (Bayer purchased Monsanto in 2018) and the BASF Corporation, the developers behind a “seed system” that pairs dicamba-tolerant seeds and dicamba herbicides used by cotton farmers in North Texas. The plaintiffs are seeking $560 million in punitive and economic damages. Wine Spectator has the full story.

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