When last we spoke about this, we were awaiting the first fallout from the discovery of Justin Winery’s horrendous destruction of its Sleepy Farm Road property in west Paso Robles. The county and the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District had both issued “stop work” orders and local outrage was spreading like wildfire, becoming a national headline. Since that time, social media backlash exploded and local businesses began boycotting Justin wines.
The Resnicks, who own Wonderful Brands (who in turn owns Justin, among other properties), are now attempting to repair the substantial self-inflicted reputational (ha!) damage. First, the news: they’ve announced they are abandoning efforts to convert their land, including the construction of a mind-bogglingly ill-advised large-capacity reservoir (which they would not fill by the long-term and environmentally sound method of using runoff, but by pumping out 6 million gallons of precious and scarce groundwater). They also announced they intend to donate the now-decimated parcel of land on Sleepy Farm Road to a yet-to-be-named land conservancy. Gosh, thanks.
And I’m completely unmoved by their half-hearted mea culpa. Here’s why.
First, the Resnicks are motivated by the accumulation of wealth, and apparently little else. If you’re unfamiliar with them, this is a good place to start. They’ve ruined the water supply for the entire population of the island of Fiji. They’re quickly doing the same in California’s central valley. My opinion of this couple? Horrible, awful people. Irredeemable.
But it gets better. In their self-serving press release, do they accept responsibility for what’s been done to their land? OF COURSE NOT. Read on, from the San Luis Obispo Tribune’s story this morning:
In their announcement, the Resnicks blamed their “local team” at Justin Vineyards and Winery for the “terrible situation at our Sleepy Farm Road property, not to mention our poor reputation within the community.”
That is the lowest, sleaziest and most cowardly tactic–blame your employees, and accept no responsibility. That’s truly reprehensible.
These people do not care about their land, regardless of their self-serving hand-wringing to the contrary. They’re on a cut-your-losses P.R. salvage mission, and nothing more.
Like so many others, I will continue to boycott them–all of their products, including Justin wines. You should, too.