Financiers are buying up vineyards in Central California, Paso Robles area not for the grapes but for water rights so they can sell back to the residents their water. Paso Robles several years ago, in light of dry wells and falling real estate values, declared a moratorium on new irrigated vineyards. The large vineyard owners with deep pockets were able to drill down hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet to tap ancient aquifers to water their thirsty grapes. Some of the homeowners who couldn’t afford to drill that deep were forced to sell their homes causing an economic crisis. The Board of Supervisors were then forced to declare the moratorium.
Enter the vulture capitalists to buy vineyards with existing deep drilled wells as an opportunity for more profit. The grapes were just window dressing allowing the financiers to secure the water rights to our common pool resources owned by all of us. National Geographic calls it the great California Water heist. Is this the new trend? Original reports can be found on this website using the “search” bar.