Opinion Press Democrat
Clearly the health of grapes takes precedence over the well being of vineyard workers. On Saturday September 2nd, I read the online article in the Press Democrat, “Harvest in Heat Wave.” A few of the photos show workers wearing bandannas that cover their mouth and nose for protection against dust and smoke. Some also wear caps and hoodies for further protection. These people were picking grapes at night under hot, bright lights, under skies shrouded with smoke during last weekend’s excessive heat wave when temperatures rose to over 100 degrees. Workers toil at a feverish pace from early evening until dawn picking grapes and then running with bins full of grapes when even the nights were much warmer than usual.
I was stunned by the paragraph that read, “Smoke from Trinity and other northern California fires should not pose a problem for the local crop as grapes are more susceptible to smoke taint in the early summer than at this point in the growing season.” In this entire article there is no empathy shown or compassion stated for the workers who pick in extreme weather conditions and no mention of the workers’ health when exposed to “smoke taint.”
This situation reminds me of how the Trump administration treats people and the environment.