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Robin Garr

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Save the Duero? Rioja coalition fighting highway development

by Robin Garr » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:03 am

Any of our Spanish friends or Spanish-wine geeks have insight on this news release just in?

We are contacting you today in request for your support. Save the Duero is a group of concerned citizens and wineries who have gathered together in the fight against a potentially disastrous decision by the Spanish government.

Internationally renowned wineries in the Appellation of Ribera del Duero in the region of Castilla y Leon, Spain, are facing a critical situation that threatens to destroy the unique terroir that lays claim to some of the world's greatest wines. The strip of the heavily traveled N-122, also known as "the Golden Mile" (describing the several prestigious bodegas located on either side of the road), bisects the region and connects the two heavily populated towns of Valladolid and Soria, is anticipated to carry over 2,000 cars per day by the year 2010. With the current infrastructure, it is an unmanageable amount of traffic for a local thoroughfare that only has two lanes. Consequently, the government considered six options to affectively handle the increase of traffic based on 17 factors which it deemed as important. These factors included everything from the environmental impact to budget considerations for each of the six alternative routes. Based on the apparent use of an old map dating back to 1991, the government chose the option which is seen by many to be the most environmentally destructive, the least affordable and the most unpopular by both businesses and local residences alike – the widening of the N-122 from a two-lane to a four-lane highway. If the Southern- Expansion Option (titled the "Southern option" in this article), moves forward as expected bodegas would lose valuable vines and a considerable amount of tourism dollars in the future.

The success of the region is not only a result of these fine wines, but also the current trend towards wine tourism. The Duero River shelters some of most impressive tourism attractions throughout Spain. Not only known for distinctive micro-climates, such as the Golden Mile, this region can also boast of having some of Spain's oldest and most beautiful architecture including a series of castles, abbeys and cathedrals that sit along the Duero River. Beyond the castles lie small pueblos which have preserved the region's vernacular architecture surrounded by a rolling countryside filled with unique flora and fauna. Combining the rich historical and cultural fabric of the region along with the internationally recognized Bodegas and one has magnet for tourism. If however, the Southern Expansion Route is approved, tourism dollars will be directly affected. The potential decline in tourism will not only be seen among the partial destruction of the pristine Duero River Valley, but also in pending projects such as the proposal to run a wine route train along an old set of railroad tracks that parallels the N-122.

In order to fight against the expansion of the N-122, we have created an online petition. What we are requesting from you is that you both learn more about this issue from our website - http://www.savetheduero.com - and if you agree with our plight, that you help your readers become aware of it too. With your help, we can not only save an internationally renown wine appellation from being severely harmed, but we can also stand together in the fight to preserve the unique environment in the Duero Valley.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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Victor de la Serna

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Re: Save the Duero? Rioja coalition fighting highway development

by Victor de la Serna » Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:39 pm

The letter is self-explanatory, Robin, and gives all the basic info on this highly disquieting project. Just one correction: this is a Ribera del Duero, not a Rioja, coalition. Rioja is on the banks of the Ebro, some 100 miles to the north.

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