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Justin Winery owners say they will donate clear-cut land, eliminate irrigation pond 

‘We were ashamed and are sorry,’ Resnicks say in statement

The Resnicks

Lynda and Stewart Resnick.

Lynda and Stewart Resnick, billionaire owners of the Wonderful Company, parent company of Justin Winery, released a statement Friday in response to the uproar caused by the company’s recent clear cutting of oak forest that occurred as part of their expansion on the Westside of Paso Robles.

The response is as follows:

As the owners of Justin Vineyards & Winery, we try to instill in our local team a neighborly spirit, environmental responsibility and entrepreneurial independence, but when we learned of the terrible situation at our Sleepy Farm Road property, not to mention our poor reputation within the community, we were ashamed and are sorry. We were asleep at the wheel.

Over the last few days, we’ve been conducting an internal review of the project and learned that while genuine efforts to meet county ordinances were made, unfortunately, there were absolutely unacceptable lapses of judgment. We’ve also talked to local residents to better understand the issues and our standing within the Paso Robles community and found that our actions are an embarrassment, and for that, we take full responsibility. We are horrified by the lack of regard for both neighbor and nature that has been exhibited, especially the removal of native oak woodlands, and we hope that the community will accept our deepest and most sincere apologies and find it in their hearts to forgive us. We want to make things right, starting now.

We have already been in active and positive discussions with the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building leaders and shared our plan to donate this 380-acre parcel of land at Sleepy Farm Road, and we’re actively exploring the best possible ways to make that happen, in addition to looking for other conservation opportunities in the greater Adelaida area. As part of this preservation, we will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to conserve this land in cooperation with county and local officials. Also included in this re-mitigation process will be the implementation of immediate sedimentation and erosion control measures; the elimination of our pond project and restoring it to its natural grade; implementing measures to permanently protect oak woodlands from being removed on at least 100 acres of our property; and planting 5,000 new oak trees across our properties.

These actions are just the beginning of our commitment to being a better, more engaged neighbor, a true steward of the land, and a local voice that lives up to the spirit of Paso Robles. We want to walk arm-in-arm with our neighbors to ensure the future of sustainable farming in the region. We know that proof of this will be in our actions, not just our words, and we look forward to working together to earn the support and trust of the Paso Robles community.

Since the original article’s publication, the story has been picked up by media giants such as The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald and others.

A petition was also started to urge the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors to implement an emergency ordinance to protect future deforestation.

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.