March 9, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: Autonomous Tractors Regulation
  • Confusing Heat Illness Prevention Ruling 
  • CAWG Foundation Reception
  • CAWG March Issue of The Crush Newsletter

Industry News:

  • Additional USDA Resources Before Potential Flooding
  • USDA Requests Nominations for Ag Air Quality Task Force
  • California's Snowpack Shows Huge Gains
  • Bay Area and 89% of Sonoma County Emerge from Drought
  • CDFA Announces Vacancies on Organic Products Advisory Committee
  • California Trade Report
  • California Energy Price Data

Upcoming Events

  • San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers 2023 Grower Education Series
  • California Competes Tax Credit Webinar
  • Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)
  • Handling OSHA Inspections in 2023
  • Certified California Sustainable Growing Webinar
  • What is the Future of Agriculture in California Summit

LAST CHANCE: Advertise in CAWG's Membership Directory

This annual directory acts as a comprehensive guide to the many vineyard management products and services available to our CAWG growers. This is your chance to be a part of this valuable industry reference guide. This digital directory has search capabilities with the option to link your advertisement directly to your website or product page.

This is a MEMBERS ONLY guide, advertisements are not available to non-members.

If you are interested in advertising, please reserve your space by the extended deadline of March 15.

Contact Mindy DeRohan.


Autonomous Tractors Regulation

The Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board will hear a panel discussion on Automated Agricultural Equipment on Thursday, March 16, 2023, at 10:00 at its meeting in Los Angeles. The five-person panel will include one representative each from manufacturing, agriculture, labor unions, academia, and Cal/OSHA. Michael Miiller, CAWG's Director of Government Relations will be the grower representative on the panel.

The panel discussion will hopefully lead to a formal rulemaking to correct Section 3441 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations which currently restricts the use of autonomous or self-propelled agricultural equipment in California.

There are four ways to participate in or monitor the hearing:

Attend the meeting in person:

Ronald Reagan State Building, Auditorium

300 South Spring Street

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Attend the meeting via Video-conference:

1. Go to

2. Select “Join”

3. Enter the meeting information: 268 984 996

4. Enter your name and email address then click “Join Meeting”

5. Video-conference will be opened to the public at 9:50 a.m.

Attend the meeting via Teleconference:

1. Dial (844) 992-4726

2. When prompted, enter 268-984-996

3. When prompted for an Attendee ID, press #

4. Teleconference will be opened to the public at 9:50 a.m.

Live video stream and audio stream (English and Spanish):

1. Go to

2. Video stream and audio stream will launch as the meeting starts at 10:00 a.m.

Confusing Heat Illness Prevention Ruling 

When the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the regulation requiring that employers keep employees safe from heat illness, the Standards Board required that water be made available for employees. In doing so, the Standards Board recognized that on a workplace-by-workplace basis, the placement of the water might be different, and simply stated in the regulation that water had to be made available “as close as practicable.” 


The idea was that employers must make a reasonable and due diligent effort to have cold clean water located in a place that was conveniently accessible for employees. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board issued a precedent decision that regulators say, “clarified the definition of what ‘as close as practicable’ means with water placement at the workplace.” 


However, in reality, the Appeals Board decision actually confuses the issue more. The decision concludes the trellises in the vineyard were an obstacle that discouraged employees from frequently drinking water. Additionally, having water at both ends of the rows was also not sufficient. In short, the decision seemed to indicate that employees should carry water bottles, which could be easily refilled at any time within each row. 


Unfortunately, the decision did not address how that water is to be kept cold and what to do if an employee does not want to carry a water bottle all day. If an employee is carrying a water bottle, there must be a water jug nearby for refilling the water bottle. The employer must monitor the water in the jug to be sure it is kept cool and refilled. And the employer must monitor the water in each bottle to ensure it is also kept cool. Additionally, there must be a sufficient number of jugs so that each employee has quick and easy access to a jug.  


In short, by failing to address the logistics of how water is to be provided under the ruling, the Appeals Board decision is confusing. A strict reading of the ruling possibly indicates that an employer considers having several water jugs located within each row which are refilled several times a day and giving each employee a water bottle that keeps the water cool.  


Growers are advised to talk with their HR professional to determine what steps they need to take in the months ahead to comply with this precedent Appeals Board decision.

Appeals Board Decision  

CAWG Foundation Reception

Following Advocacy Day on March 14, CAWG invites you to a reception at The Gualco Group benefiting the CAWG Foundation. The reception will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will take place at The Gualco Group office, located at 500 Capitol Mall, 26th floor, Sacramento, CA 95814.

The CAWG Foundation was started as an expression of gratitude to the employees who help make the winegrape and wine community a special part of California culture. Since the program’s inception in 1998, the CAWG Foundation has awarded $554,500 in scholarships to help students pursue higher education. Generous donations from CAWG members and the California wine community fund the scholarship program.

The CAWG Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-deductible organization.

If you are interested in sponsoring the CAWG Foundation Reception, please contact Jenny Devine.

Register for the CAWG Foundation Reception.

CAWG March Issue of The Crush Newsletter

Earlier this week, the March issue of The Crush Newsletter was released.


·   Feature Story: Low-Temperature Grapevine Injury

·   Federal Focus: 2023 Farm Bill Priorities

·   State Update: Workplace Violence Prevention

·   CAWG Advocacy Day - 3/14

·   Winegrape Legend & Long-time CAWG Member Angelo Sangiacomo Passes Away

·   April is Down to Earth Month

·   Autonomous Tractors Regulation

·   CAWG Foundation Reception

·   2023 CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament

·   CAWG 2023 Sponsored Legislation

·   Advertise in CAWG's Membership Directory


Read March Issue

Industry News

Additional USDA Resources Before Potential Flooding

With severe storms forecast for northern and central California USDA is reminding communities in the region to prepare and to be aware of USDA programs to assist following flooding and other disasters.

  • Food Safety Guidance: Severe weather forecasts often present the possibility of power outages or flooding that could compromise the safety of stored food. 
  • Protecting Pets and Livestock: USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is urging everyone in the potential flood area to prepare now – not just for yourselves, but also for your pets and your livestock.
  • Risk Management and Disaster Assistance for Agricultural Operations: USDA offers several risk management and disaster assistance options to help producers recover after disasters.

Learn More about USDA Programs

USDA Requests Nominations for Ag Air Quality Task Force

USDA is currently seeking nominees to its Task Force on Agricultural Air Quality Research (Task Force), including agricultural producers, agricultural industry representatives, researchers, scientists, and members of health and regulatory communities. Created by the 1996 Farm Bill, the Task Force promotes USDA research efforts and identifies cost-effective ways the agriculture industry can improve air quality.

The Task Force advises the Secretary of Agriculture on air quality and its relationship to agriculture based on sound scientific findings. In that advisory role, the Task Force:

  • Reviews research on agricultural air quality supported by federal agencies.
  • Promotes intergovernmental (federal, state, local and tribal) coordination in establishing agricultural air quality policy to avoid duplication of efforts.
  • Ensures that air quality conservation practices supported by USDA are based on peer-reviewed research and are economically feasible for agricultural producers.

Nominations must be emailed to Greg Zwicke at [email protected] or postmarked by Friday, May 5, 2023.

California's Snowpack Shows Huge Gains

From the Department of Water Resources:

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today conducted the third snow survey of the season at Phillips Station. The manual survey recorded 116.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 41.5 inches, which is 177 percent of average for this location on March 3. The snow water equivalent measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and is a key component of DWR’s water supply forecast. DWR’s electronic readings from 130 snow sensors placed throughout the state indicate the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 44.7 inches, or 190 percent of average for this date.

“Thankfully the recent storms combined with the January atmospheric rivers have contributed to an above-average snowpack that will help fill some of the state’s reservoirs and maximize groundwater recharge efforts. But the benefits vary by region, and the Northern Sierra, home to the state’s largest reservoir Lake Shasta, is lagging behind the rest of the Sierra,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said. “It will also take more than one good year to begin recovery of the state’s groundwater basins.”

Although the statewide snowpack is currently just behind the record snow year of 1982-83, the snowpack varies considerably by region. The Southern Sierra snowpack is currently 209 percent of its April 1 average and the Central Sierra is at 175 percent of its April 1 average. However, the critical Northern Sierra, where the state’s largest surface water reservoirs are located, is at 136 percent of its April 1 average. With one month of the traditional wet season remaining, DWR is providing updated runoff forecasts to water managers and is closely monitoring spring runoff scenarios and river flows to ensure the most water supply benefits from this year’s snowpack while balancing the need for flood control.

Bay Area and 89% of Sonoma County Emerge from Drought

The U.S. Drought Monitor's update last month reported that the winter storms in late 2022 and early 2023 have eliminated a state of drought for the entire Bay Area and nearly all of Sonoma County. The western two-thirds of Mendocino County is considered drought-free, as well as one-third of Napa County.

Both of the region’s primary reservoirs, Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, are above water supply levels as of this week. The U.S. Drought Monitor is a product of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

U.S. Drought Monitor

CDFA Announces Vacancies on Organic Products Advisory Committee

CDFA announced vacancies on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC).

COPAC advises the Secretary on issues related to organic standards and enforcement, and on support for organic agriculture in California through education, outreach, technical assistance, and other industry activities.

Appointed by the Secretary, committee members represent organic stakeholders, including farmers, processors, retailers, consumers, and accredited certifying agencies. Appointments for advisory committee positions will normally be for three years from the date of appointment.

California Trade Report

The US Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released the December 2022 California Trade Report.

The state’s trade position improved somewhat in January, with origin exports up 9.3% (6.8% real) compared to January 2022, and destination imports down 11.0% (down 11.7% real) as consumers continued to shift purchasing patterns from goods to services. The January numbers still fall short of recovery, with origin exports down 4.3% from January 2019 and destination imports off 7.1%. 

Overall, the state’s position as a trade gateway continued to erode from uncertainty coming from the protracted labor negotiations, increasing costs due to the state’s energy policies, and warehousing congestion. Total trade through the state’s ports was down 2.1% in nominal terms from the prior year. The percentage of total US trade through the state’s ports continued slipping to 15.90% compared to the near-term high of 18.27% in March 2021 and the previous high of 19.99% at the beginning of the current data series in December 2004.

California Trade Report

California Energy Price Data

California's 2023 fuel price data and December's electricity and natural gas price data have been reported. California's policies and regulations continue to keep the prices at the highest or near the highest among the contiguous states across all energy sources.

The electricity rankings are adjusted to reflect the annual residential electricity bill is the result of the annual revisions to the data for 2022. The slippage in the residential natural gas rate reflects the price effects coming from the pipeline supply shortages affecting the state at the end of the year. 

Gasoline prices moved somewhat higher in California but remained little changed in the rest of the country as the annual shift to the higher cost summer blends required by state regulations began. In the latest data from CSAA, prices continue to inch higher with the average California price at $4.90 on March 6, but the US average again largely unchanged from February at $3.41.

Diesel, which has a significant effect on the cost of food and other goods, was largely unchanged in California but down 3.6% in the other states. The latest CSAA data shows diesel dipping 5 cents in California, and easing 11 cents in the US as a whole.

California Energy Price Data Report

Upcoming Events and Trainings

California Competes Tax Credit Webinar

The next California Competes Tax Credit application period starts Monday, March 6, 2023, with at least $99.7 million in available tax credits. Businesses interested in applying can register to view a live webinar explaining the application process.


The online application can be accessed starting March 6, 2023 and the deadline to submit applications is Monday, March 20, 2023. To apply visit  

Upcoming Webinars:

  • March 16, 2023

Details and Registration

Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)

The UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology will present "Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)." The seminar provides the opportunity for active participants in the wine and winegrape industry to hear researchers discuss their latest projects and ongoing research in an open forum where discussion is encouraged.

Registration closes on March 12.


  • March 15, UC Davis Conference Center

Agenda and Registration Information

Handling OSHA Inspections in 2023

Join members of Fisher Phillips’ Workplace Safety Team to learn about the latest methods for dealing with an OSHA inspection, including a discussion of how to limit the scope of OSHA’s inspection, responses to document requests, requests to interview employees, items OSHA focused on in the past year, current OSHA enforcement activity, and more.


  • March 23, 9:00 AM (PST)

Registration Information

Certified California Sustainable Growing Webinar

Register today for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) and Certification webinar to be held March 29, 2023, from 10 to 11 a.m. Participants will gain information on the SWP, learn how to complete a self-assessment using the online system and the steps required to become certified to Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing. Other helpful tools and resources will also be covered.


  • March 29, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM


What is the Future of Agriculture in California Summit

The Maddy Institute, in partnership with Climate Now and the Livermore Lab Foundation, will host a free virtual summit at the California State University, Fresno for 250 in-person attendees and many more virtual participants.

The summit will showcase a variety of diverse speakers including the Keynote Speaker, Karen Ross. The speakers will discuss critical concepts, opportunities, and challenges within agriculture and climate.


  • March 30, 8:30 AM, CSU Fresno and Virtual

Agenda and Registration Information

SAVE THE DATE - CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament

May 16 - Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa Valley

Join the CAWG Foundation for our 4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament. The scholarship program is specifically for high school seniors whose parent/guardian(s) are employed by a CA winegrape grower. 

Register today!



14 - 2023 CAWG Advocacy Day

14 - CAWG Foundation Reception


16 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament



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