April 20, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: 100% Deliveries of Water
  • Clarksburg Wine Growers & Vintners Association Grape Day
  • CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament
  • Nominations Open for CAWG's 2024 Grower and Leader of the Year

Industry News:

  • Oregon State Researchers Make Breakthrough in Understanding the Chemistry of Wildfire Smoke in Wine
  • $2.7 Million Approved for Vineyard Pest and Disease Research
  • California Air Resources Board Planning Implementation Work Group Meeting
  • Spotted Lanternfly Summit 2023 Recordings Now Available
  • Monarch Tractor Accepting Reservations for the CORE Program
  • Unsustainable? Anatomy of California Vineyard Economics
  • Virtual Question-and-Answer Session on USDA's Disaster Assistance to Help California Farmers and Agriculture Communities Recover
  • Silicon Valley Bank's Direct to Consumer Survey
  • USDA Extends Deadline for Emergency Conservation Program Applications from California Producers in 52 Counties

Upcoming Events

  • AB 2183 Card Check - What Does it Mean for Ag Employers?
  • Napa Valley Grapegrowers Sustainable Vineyard Practices Seminar
  • 2023 Western Drought Webinar
  • American Society For Enology and Viticulture National Conference

Follow us on Social Media!

Did you know April is Down to Earth Month? Down to Earth Month is an ideal time to explore and celebrate California wines that are grown and made with sustainable practices.

Learn more about Down to Earth Month Events this month and follow CAWG on FacebookLinkedInand Twitter to learn about CAWG members who are practicing sustainability methods in their vineyards.


100% Deliveries of Water

Today, Governor Newsom announced a 100% water allocation for 2023 for the State Water Project, the highest since 2006. While this is great news for growers, this announcement comes as no real surprise as reservoirs are nearing capacity and the snowmelt has not even started. Statewide, reservoir storage is at 105 percent of average for this date.

Newsom reports that on top of the 100% allocation, the state is also sending additional water to regions for groundwater recharge and added reservoir supplies. Since March 22, the state has delivered 228,000 acre-feet of water to local water agencies for groundwater recharge and boosting reservoir supplies, with 37,000 acre-feet planned for next week.

This is also great news. But California is still failing to fully capture water available for groundwater recharge. With the southern San Joaquin Valley facing potential flooding in the next few weeks from snowmelt, it is crucial that there are successful efforts underway to divert flood water for recharge.  

“California is taking action to maximize the capture and storage of water from recent storms and snowpack, increasing water deliveries to 100% for the first time in nearly two decades,” said Newsom. “California is moving and storing as much water as possible to meet the state’s needs, reduce the risk of flooding, and protect our communities, agriculture, and the environment.”

Clarksburg Wine Growers & Vintners Association Grape Day

Yesterday, Michael Miiller, CAWG's Director of Government Relations spoke at the Clarksburg Wine Growers & Vintners Association Grape Day hosted at The Old Sugar Mill.

Micahel provided a regulatory update talking about current legislative issues and the work CAWG is currently doing to advocate for the best interests of CAWG Members. Michael also talked about air quality control issues, autonomous equipment, labor, and much more. Other speakers included a State of the Association from Tom Merwin, Sudden Vine Collapse and Virus Talk presented by Akif Eskalen and Maher Al Rwahnin, Grapevine Mealybug and its Impact in Vineyards and Control Methods presented by Kent Daane, and the State of the Industry presented by Kyle Collins, Allied Grape Growers.

CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament

May 16 - Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa Valley

We are nearly ONE MONTH away from the CAWG Foundation’s 4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament. 

Don't miss your chance to register before it is too late. Last year’s tournament was sold-out!

Tournament registration will begin at 8:30 AM. The tournament will begin at 9:30 AM with a shotgun start and we will be playing a four-person scramble.

Interested in sponsoring? We have exciting sponsorship packages available. Contact Jenny Devine for more information.

Register today!

Suggested Hotels

Nominations Open for CAWG's 2024 Grower and Leader of the Year

Nominations are now open for the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Awards of Excellence Program. 

The Awards Program presents two awards annually: Grower of the Year and Leader of the Year. These awards are meant to spotlight exceptional people or companies who have benefitted the broader community of winegrape growers through exemplary leadership and outstanding commitment to the well-being of the winegrowing industry, California communities, and the environment.

Nominations are due by June 9, 2024!

The CAWG Awards of Excellence reception will be held on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, during the opening night of the 2024 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium held in Sacramento.



For more information and to view past award recipients, please visit the CAWG website. For questions, contact Natalie Collins, President.

Industry News

Oregon State Researchers Make Breakthrough in Understanding the Chemistry of Wildfire Smoke in Wine

Researchers at Oregon State University recently discovered a new class of compounds that contribute to the ashy, smoky flavors in wine made with grapes that were exposed to wildfire smoke. Winemakers have struggled for the past few years to combat the impact of smoke taint on wine grapes as it affects the flavor and aroma of the wine.

“These findings provide new avenues for research to understand and prevent smoke taint in grapes,” said Elizabeth Tomasino, an associate professor of enology at Oregon State. “They also will help provide tools for the grape and wine industries to quickly make decisions about whether to harvest grapes or make wine following a smoke event.”

Last year, Tomasino and Jenna Fryer, a doctoral student in Tomasino’s lab, published a paper that outlined a new standard for tasting the smoky/ashy component of smoke taint in wine. As part of that work, they discovered a new class of sulfur-containing compounds, thiophenols. Thiophenols are not normally found in wines and alcoholic beverages. They are found in meat and fish, and past sensory research has used the terms meaty and burnt to describe them.

Cole Cerrato, an Oregon State researcher who works closely with Tomasino, set up an experiment at the university’s vineyard. Cerrato and others in the lab built a greenhouse-like structure, placed it over a row of grapes and exposed the grapes to smoke. They harvested those grapes and made wine with them. The wines the researchers made were sent to Tom Collins, an assistant professor at Washington State’s Wine Science Center. He confirmed that thiophenols were found in the wines that had been exposed to smoke in Oregon State’s vineyard and that the thiophenols were not found in control samples that had no smoke exposure.

This research is funded by a $7.65 million grant Oregon State researchers and a team of West Coast university collaborators received in 2021 to study the impact of smoke exposure on grapes. Oregon State researchers are working with scientists at Washington State and the University of California, Davis, on the four-year project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and through the USDA Agricultural Research Service. 

CAWG is sponsoring AB-25 (Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters) along with Wine Institute which would require CDFA to provide funding for smoke research. This will fund efforts

to investigate the accurate measurement of smoke compounds in winegrapes and wine, methods to mitigate the damage to winegrapes and wine that can occur from exposure to smoke, and methods to prevent smoke damage to winegrapes and wine.

Register for the West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit on June 7 to learn more. Leading researchers will present their latest findings and insights on smoke issues. Registration for the webinar is free.

$2.7 Million Approved for Vineyard Pest and Disease Research

CDFA's Peirce's Disease and Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Board approved $2.7 million in research funding for 17 new projects this week at their board meeting focused on vineyard pests and diseases. The board received a total of 31 applications from its requests for approval annual program and will forward its recommendations to CDFA Secretary Ross for final approval.

The selected projects will focus their research on Pierce's Disease Research, Virus Research Projects, and Insect and Vector Projects. Since 2001, the PD/GWSS Board has invested more than $52.5 million in research.

Read more about the funded projects.

California Air Resources Board Planning Implementation Work Group Meeting

The California Air Resources Board is holding a webinar work group meeting on the implementation of the Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project, including policies approved by the Board in the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Funding Plan for Clean Transportation Incentives.

Each year, staff conducts additional public processes following Board approval of the Funding Plan to define new mechanisms and criteria for the FY while completing annual updates to the Implementation Manual. In addition, staff will take this opportunity to engage with stakeholders and establish a protocol to successfully reopen the project in 2023. The meeting agenda is available for review.

To participate in the work group, please register prior to April 27 at 9 a.m.

Date: April 27, 2023

Time: 10 am-12 pm PST

Locaton: Zoom Webinar

Register Here

Spotted Lanternfly Summit 2023 Recordings Now Available

Did you miss the Spotted Lanternfly Summit? Or want to go back and listen to a presentation?

Free recordings from the Spotted Lanternfly Summit 2023 are available online with the lasted information about the invasive species.

Monarch Tractor Accepting Reservations for the CORE Program

Monarch Tractor is now accepting reservations for the Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Program (CORE) 2023. Last year, funding for the coveted CORE voucher was quickly depleted and demand for the 2023 program is expected to outpace available funding. Monarch Tractor is now taking reservations to hold your place in line for CORE 2023 to ensure funding applications can be submitted when the program opens in July.

CORE 2022 issued nearly $13 million in funding vouchers for the fully electric, driver-optional, smart Monarch MK-V tractor. The CORE savings allowed eligible farmers to accrue significant savings in labor, maintenance, and fuel from day one, along with enjoying the many other advantages that come with an MK-V. 

Unsustainable? Anatomy of California Vineyard Economics

Excerpt from The Wine Economist, Mike Veseth

The April 2023 “Vineyard Issue” of Wine Business Monthly features articles that address many different important winegrower issues. I find W. Blake Gray’s analysis of “Prices Don’t Pencil Out for Growers Who Saw Production Costs Double” particularly interesting because it deals with a problem that I wrote about earlier this year in a Wine Economist column titled Margins? What Margins? The Big Squeeze in Winegrowing 2023.

The Wine Economist column was provoked by a conversation with some California growers at this year’s Unified Wine & Grape Symposium and connected the dots linking their observations with Vinpro data presented a few weeks earlier for South Africa. Only 9 percent of South African winegrowers earn a sustainable return on their vineyard investment. A little more than half break even or earn small nominal profits, but not enough to sustain continuing investment. And almost 40 percent reported losses. And the margin gap is getting wider.

My California grower friends said their situation was not much different from the South Africans and, indeed, this is a problem I have seen around the world, although not typically backed by the sort of data that Vinpro collects for the South African industry.

The two simple strategies to claw back margins are to reduce yields to try to raise quality and therefore price or to reduce unit cost by increasing yields. South African growers have found it difficult to raise prices enough to make the first strategy work, so many are focusing on higher yields. But it is not as simple as that, the California growers told me, because sometimes buyers won’t allow higher yields and, in any case, some older vineyards just aren’t set up to make high yields possible.

W. Blake Gray’s article digs deeper into the California situation, specifically for District 11, the San Joaquin Valley North, which includes Lodi. He quotes Aaron Lange of Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyards in Lodi, for example, who explains that average grape prices are lower now than they were 25 years ago (despite higher costs throughout the production chain). Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, sold for an average of $695 per ton in 2022 according to the UDSA grape crush report. It sold for an average of $794 in 1997. The figures for Chardonnay grapes are $627 in 2022 versus $774 in 1997. That, my friends, is a big squeeze.

Read more

Virtual Question-and-Answer Session on USDA's Disaster Assistance to Help California Farmers and Agriculture Communities Recover

Was your California farming operation impacted by a natural disaster? Or do you live in a California agricultural community that was impacted? 

CDFA hosted a virtual question-and-answer session to help those affected learn more about programs and resources that may be available.


This session builds on the California disaster assistance webinar hosted last week by USDA and CDFA which covered programs that can help farmers and agricultural communities impacted by current disasters.


If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, you can watch the recording here.

Silicon Valley Bank's Direct to Consumer Survey

Following SVB's recent acquisition, they are excited to announce that we will be moving forward with the Direct to Consumer Report, with the survey now launching on April 26th.

By participating in the survey, you will help provide valuable data and further the research and reporting that we’ve proudly delivered to the industry for over 20 years. This link provides a preview of the survey questions, and we’ll continue to follow up with additional collateral and resources to help promote the survey in the coming weeks.

USDA Extends Deadline for Emergency Conservation Program Applications from California Producers in 52 Counties

Last week, USDA announced they have extended the deadline for accepting Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) applications to October 13, 2023. California agricultural producers who need assistance to address damages from severe storms are encouraged to submit applications.

“We understand the extent of the damage caused by these severe storms and the catastrophic and widespread impacts of these disasters on California’s agricultural communities,” said Blong Xiong, State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in California. “This deadline extension will give producers more time to apply for emergency assistance and rebuild with resiliency.” 

ECP provides financial assistance to producers to help them restore their farmland to pre-disaster conditions. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75% of the cost of an approved restoration activity. Limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers may receive up to 90% cost-share. The payment limitation for ECP is $500,000 per disaster event. 

The approved counties for ECP signup are Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo and Yuba. 

Learn more about approved ECP Practices under this authorization for recovery.

Upcoming Events and Trainings

AB 2183 Card Check - What Does it Mean for Ag Employers?

AB 2183, agricultural employee unionization card check legislation went into effect on January 1, 2023. This in-person seminar by Barsamian and Moody, Attorneys at Law, will walk through the statutory changes to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, including what is card check, labor peace elections, the administrative penalties, and appeal bond requirements in the new law. RSVPs are required to attend these seminars.  


The seminar is intended for:

  • Owner-Operators
  • Managers                                                                                             
  • Human Resources Personnel
  • Farm Labor Contractors (FLCs)
  • FLC Representatives



  • April 25, 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM, 646 S. State Highway 59, Merced


Napa Valley Grapegrowers Sustainable Vineyard Practices Seminar

The Sustainable Vineyard Practices seminars are held in partnership with the Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group and the University of California Cooperative Extension. This series is for vineyard owners, growers, viticulturists, winemakers, and vineyard managers striving to increase quality and sustainability in the vineyard. This second session will focus on vineyard development and irrigation plans in a changing climate.


  • April 26, 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM, Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center and Zoom

Agenda and Registration Information

2023 Western Drought Webinar

Join the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Integrated Drought Information System, in partnership with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center for the 2023 Western Drought Webinar.

This webinar will provide the latest information on current drought conditions and outlooks. Speakers from the USGS, NWS Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, and NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory will also provide updates on groundwater conditions, the Colorado River Basin, and how the wet winter will or will not impact long-term drought in the West.


  • May 9, 11 AM - 12:30 PM, Virtual


American Society For Enology and Viticulture National Conference

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) National Conference provides an ideal opportunity for networking among members of all U.S. wine and grape regions, as well as international experts and professionals. Join us for a week of focused learning in winemaking and grapegrowing, and reconnecting with friends and colleagues.

Learn the latest about Pierce’s disease and glassy-winged sharpshooter research at the 2023 ASEV National Conference. The PD/GWSS Board Research Seminar session will be moderated by PD/GWSS Board Research Coordinator Kristin Lowe.

ASEV offers all CAWG members their discounted member rate. If you would like to register using the discounted member rate, please call the CAWG office for your promo code.


  • June 26-29, Napa Valley Marriott

Visit ASEV's website to learn more about their National Conference.



16 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament


7 - West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit


13 - CAWG Annual Meeting (Virtual)



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