Justin Vineyards tree removal violates county code

June 14, 2016


Justin Vineyards and Winery violated San Luis Obispo County grading code when it removed hundreds of oak trees from a rural Paso Robles property, a county code enforcement officer said Monday. The code enforcement officer spoke at a meeting of more than 50 residents who oppose the Justin Vineyards project.

Recently, workers removed hundreds of oak trees from a property located at 750 Sleepy Farm Road. The property is owned by Estate Vineyards and managed by Justin Vineyards. Workers removed the trees in preparation for planting a new vineyard that would be added to Justin Vineyards’ collection. The project also involves the construction of a 20-acre-foot water storage pond.

Code enforcement officer R. Moore said county officials found Estate Vineyards to be in violation of grading without a permit on slopes in excess of 30 percent.

Removing oak trees on agricultural land is not prohibited by county code. However, county code regulates grading on steep slopes, which can cause erosion and creek sedimentation.

The Tribune reported that Estate Vineyards submitted a permit application for the construction of the water storage pond. The permit application stated no trees would be removed as a result of constructing the pond.

Several neighbors have spoken out against the Justin Vineyards project, saying oak trees make the Paso Robles area beautiful and removing them destroys the landscape. Additionally, neighbors are concerned the project may cause their wells to go dry.

Stewart and Lynda Resnick

Stewart and Lynda Resnick

Justin Vineyards has responded by saying the company will plant 5,000 oak trees across its properties. The wine company is owned by Beverly Hills billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick.

The Resnicks, who are one of the nation’s wealthiest farm operators, had been major proponents of the failed effort to create a water district to manage the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. Many local residents have accused the Resnicks of attempting to expand their water banking enterprise into North County. The Resnicks own a majority stake in the nearby Kern Water Bank.


In addition to the carbon issue oak trees hold the soil in place, cool the air and the native oaks are adapted to California’s cyclical rain fall. With the current laws in place in our county there is no way this loss of oak trees can be mitigated.

Even if Resnick planted 5,000 oak trees the survival rate would near zero % because the county regulations do zero followup to insure survival. It takes 5 to 7 years to get the seedlings established. The biggest expense is not plant material its the cost for labor – watering and weed suppression.

I know of one project where this was done and the developer agreed to do it. If he hadn’t the project would have been approved anyway.

There will be a big uproar for a while and then things will quiet down and the conversion of ag land to a mono culture of grapes -no weeds, no trees- will continue.


These are the only violations that are newsworthy in north county. Just drive around and see the tree removal and illegal soil importation and grading all over.

Jorge Estrada

What’s going on just down the road near Shandon? Rumors say that two 16 diameter water lines are being installed and serious grading has been done to benefit a newly constructed reservoir. Rumor sez the Mexican Mofia is funding the project and code enforcement is looking the other way for their personal safety. Or is this the same project that the rumor mill has distorted from one into two? What the heck is the Mexican Mofia, is there allot of cash being spent that needs no paper trail? Well, that could be anybody or political faction agrilaundering, a big profit (clean money) at the time of sale.


Not just in N. County. Over the past two years tens of thousands of acres of eucalyptus trees have been removed on the Mesa while the County looks the other way. These trees, though not native, provided protection from the wind and particulate and their removal has exacerbated the air problem for the homeowners in the new developments.


They are putting in a plant to make bean dip.

Earth Girl

Shame on the Resnicks. We all know in our hearts that those Oaks can’t merely be replaced by planting new trees. Not in our lifetime. I left a review on Yelp to boycott Justin. Our County Government: a day late and a dollar short.


King and Queen Resnick should have to restore the property back to its original condition by planting 5,000 old growth oak trees in the same land they were removed from and be responsible for keeping them living for the next 50 years. Otherwise they win and a large fine is just a bump in the road to getting their way. Restoring nature in its restored natural habitat is the only way to go to set prescedent for future disregard for our laws.

Josey Wales


I call for a boycott of Justin Vineyards and it is outrageous that these Beverly Hills billionaires would come to our beautiful Central Coast and act like its just another ‘toy’ for them to play with. Stewart and Lynda Resnick ought to be ashamed of themselves, but obviously these types are shameless.

The Resnicks ought to know that people will push back against this baloney, and their violations of county code ought to be punished by the maximum extent of the law. Clearcutting the oaks off their property to increase grape production and attempting to control the water basin indicate to me that the Central Coast is better off without these sociopaths.

Boycott Justin Vineyards




No to start a political debate, but FYI a certain somebody who reads these posts, theses folks are NOT greedy republicans. They have donated close to a million to the D party. That being said, they are greedy individuals with no respect for our county. A 20 acre feet pond,really?That’s a bit over 6.5 million gallons of water sucked from our aquifer local residents will never get.


And the best part is the massive evaporation loss. The County’s codes require that your

POOL be equipped with a cover to prevent evaporation losses (whether you actually use it or not is up to you).


Not sure about the hanging but certainly do not buy any Justin wine, Fiji water, “Wonderful” products such as Teleflora, POM Wonderful, Wonderful Pistachios and Wonderful Almonds, Wonderful Citrus, and Suterra.