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January 8, 2013 | 1:05 PM

Matt Kettman's article, "What Impact Could Fracking Have on California Vineyards?", caught my eye today. It's reported in Wine Spectator and was the second news story posted on winebusiness.com.

Kettman reports that "oilers are intensely exploring the Central Coast" and "vintners are starting to wonder what fracking might mean for them." Among those watching, he writes, are "J. Lohr, which produces more than 1 million cases a year and sources a tiny amount of grapes from the Lockwood Valley, and Scott Scheid of Scheid Vineyards, which owns 6,000 acres of vineyards in Monterey County."

A few quotes from Kettman's story:

Paul Johnson, president of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association , said:

“Oil companies are buying [mineral rights] up, and if oil companies are buying it, they are obviously planning on doing fracking.  We just want assurances that the water supply will be kept safe.”

Tupper Hull, a spokesperson for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), said:

“The likelihood of any contamination from hydraulic fracturing itself is as close to zero as I suppose you could get.”

Kassie Siegel, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, which is fighting the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) auctions of mineral rights in California and elsewhere, said:

“This is a free-for-all right now. These areas in Texas and North Dakota and Pennsylvania have been transformed overnight into industrial wastelands. Both state and federal regulators are completely dropping the ball in California.”

 It will be interesting to see where this goes and to follow the new regulations and, of course, the money.

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