July 20, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: Local Taxes
  • Free Legal Services for Undocumented Farmworkers
  • Smoke from Sonoma Prescribed Burn
  • Harvest Preparedness Webinar: Safety Reminders and Updates
  • Save the Date: Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
  • California Wine Grape Growers Need Support to Manage Risks from Wildfire and Smoke

Industry News:

  • Federal Legislation Introduced to Expand Access to Ag Conservation Programs
  • Grape Data Tool Update Released
  • UC Davis and Agrology Expand Partnership to Understand Higher-Level Thresholds for Smoke Risk in Vineyards
  • California Supreme Court Shuts Down COVID-19 Liability Claim from Worker's Wife: 4 Key Takeaways for Employers
  • University of California Grape Day
  • In the News: AEM: The Environmental Benefits of Precision Agriculture Quantified
  • In the News: Central Coast Wine Grape Market: What You Need to Know for 2023

Upcoming Events

  • SCVTG July Meeting - Pierce's Disease of Grapevines Ecology and Management
  • Lodi Grape Harvest Safety Seminar
  • Train the Trainer: Forklift Safety Workshop
  • Lodi Grower Meeting - Harvest Challenges
  • Acres U.S.A. Healthy Soils Summit


Local Taxes

At a gas station in suburban Chicago, a sign reads, “No Cook County Tax.” This is because gasoline at the Amoco station in suburban DuPage County isn’t subject to the increased gas tax in Cook County. This means the price at the pump is less expensive in Darien, IL than in Chicago, IL which is only about 25 miles away.  


This is an example of why most industry organizations, including CAWG, oppose increased local taxes in California. We all know that (in a statewide, national, and global economy) local tax increases are passed on and thereby create a competitive disadvantage for those in the very community those taxes are intended to serve. In short, whenever a city or county raises taxes, the consequences of that tax increase are felt well beyond the city limits or county line. 


Recognizing the potential consequences of increasing local taxes, the California Constitution provides that local tax increases are subject to approval by a two-thirds vote of the electorate. However, ACA 1 proposes to amend the Constitution to allow local governments to increase taxes (e.g., parcel taxes, sales/use taxes, Mello-Roos taxes) with only a 55 percent vote of the electorate IF the tax proceeds are earmarked for public infrastructure or affordable housing. CAWG is opposed, because lowering the threshold from 2/3 to 55% means that every local government could propose competing and spiraling tax increases that could have a detrimental effect on all California industries, including agriculture.  


With this in mind, as a CAWG staff member enjoyed a Midwest road trip (vacation) this week, one particular bumper sticker on a truck in rural Wisconsin fondly reminded him of CAWG growers and California politics: “When you Gripe about Farmers – Don’t talk with your Mouth Full.” 

Free Legal Services for Undocumented Farmworkers

This week, Governor Newsom announced a new partnership between several state agencies to create a pilot program of free legal services to undocumented agriculture employees. Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County and the United Farm Workers Foundation joined Newsom in making the announcement. 


Newsom’s news release indicates the program is mainly intended to help agriculture employees who are pursuing or may pursue a claim before the Labor Commissioner’s Office, Cal/OSHA, or the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. These would typically be claims related to wage and hour disputes, unsafe working conditions, or collective bargaining. This new program includes case review services, legal advice, and representation by an attorney – all at no cost to farmworkers seeking assistance. 


The target of the pilot project is “bad actor employers” who threaten deportation or create difficulties for employees to obtain other jobs without work authorization. Newsom states that the $4.5 million pilot project is “funded by existing resources and is expected to begin later this year.” However, that exact funding source is not provided in the news release or detailed in the recently approved state budget.   


Historically, when state agencies implement a pilot program, it is for a specified period of time and calls for a report at the end of the pilot program that can be utilized to measure the success of the program and to help determine whether the program should be extended, expanded, made permanent, or eliminated. None of that information was included in Newsom’s news release.   

Smoke from Sonoma Prescribed Burn 

Yesterday, a prescribed burn near Sonoma Raceway was conducted to treat 92 acres of oak woodland and savannahs. The purpose of this controlled burn was to effectively reduce fuel loads and mitigate the spread of invasive grasses. While controlled burns are necessary for fuel management, it is important to acknowledge that the resulting smoke can have significant implications for nearby growers. During this particular burn, visible smoke clouds could be seen across the valley.

CAWG will be issuing timely reminders to Fire Districts and the public, underscoring the potential impact of wildfire smoke on winegrapes, especially considering the imminent harvest season. CAWG aims to strike a balance between wildfire management and safeguarding the interests of the winegrape industry and the local communities.

Harvest Preparedness Webinar: Safety Reminders and Updates

As the harvest season approaches, it is crucial for winegrape growers to stay informed about the latest regulations that directly impact their operations. Join CAWG on August 2 at 10 am for an informative webinar for timely updates and reminders on regulations surrounding harvest.

Topics to include:

  • Heat Illness Prevention
  • Nighttime Lighting Requirements
  • Smoke Exposure and Worker Safety
  • Autonomous Equipment Updates
  • And More…

Michael Miiller, CAWG’s Director of Government Affairs, will be presenting.


Save the Date: Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

Do you have January 23-25, 2024 marked on your calendar? Save the date for the 30th Annual Unified Wine and Grape Symposium (UW&GS) held at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento.

The Program Development Committee, chaired by Alisa Jacobson, Turning Tides Wines, and Devin Parr, Devin Parr & Associates, have been working to secure a dynamic line-up of keynote and session speakers who will address timely industry topics.

The full program and registration information will be available Fall 2023. As a CAWG member, you can save up to $200 off your registration.

The 2024 UW&GS will not disappoint!

California Wine Grape Growers Need Support to Manage Risks from Wildfire and Smoke

This week, UC ANR published a research article that delves into not only the increase of wildfires but also their impact on growers and the necessary measures required to manage and mitigate the associated risks. The article shares that winegrape growers and wine producers throughout California were surveyed to better understand the wildfire resources available to producers and the role that wildfire risk has in management decisions - especially as it related to smoke exposed fruit. CAWG was a contributor to the article.

Read More

Industry News

Federal Legislation Introduced to Expand Access to Ag Conservation Programs

Today, a bipartisan coalition comprised of California’s US Representatives Jimmy Panetta, John Duarte, and Jim Costa introduced the Growing Access to Environmental Sustainability (GATES) Act to reduce barriers for producers in accessing agricultural conservation programs. Co-leading this legislation are Reps. Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), David Rouzer (NC-07), Chuck Edwards (NC-11), and Lori Michelle Chavez-DeRemer (OR-5).

The intent of this legislation is to address the current adjusted gross income (AGI) limitations which disproportionately limit those growers with high input costs from participating in certain USDA conversation-focused programs.

Rep. Panetta said, “Agricultural producers are on the frontlines of our conservation efforts, yet too often are unable to access federal programs designed to assist their work as good stewards of our environment. By empowering our farmers with the conservation support they need, we can better safeguard the bounty that they help provide our country.”

Specifically, the GATES Act would:

  • Exempt the AGI limitation for farms that get 75% of their income from farming or related farming practices (agri-tourism, direct-to-consumer marketing of agricultural products, sale of agricultural equipment owned by person or entity, and other agriculture-related activities, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture).
  • This would apply to the following conservation programs:
  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Read More

Grape Data Tool Update Released

The Grape Data Tool is a FREE resource that enables users to input key details such as pricing, district, and variety to access comprehensive Crush Report and Acreage Report data. The Grape Data Tool, produced by Vineyard Financial Associates, distills nearly every Acreage and Crush Report since 1991 into a single Excel workbook that can be used to guide business decisions.

This tool offers advanced functionalities, including percentile lookup, inflation adjustment, and automated data analysis. For those less familiar with the tool Excel, tutorial videos are available.

CAWG hosted a webinar with Gabriel Froymovich, owner of Vineyard Financial Services in 2022 showing how to use the Grape Data Tool. The recording can be found here.

The latest version which includes 2022 data, can be found here.

UC Davis and Agrology Expand Partnership to Understand Higher-Level Thresholds for Smoke Risk in Vineyards

UC Davis and Agrology announced yesterday they are expanding their partnership to include new research that aims to work toward understanding smoke risk thresholds. Dr. Anita Oberholster's UC Davis Viticulture and Enology team has begun to conduct research projects that use Agrology sensors to monitor and measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and volatile phenol concentrations. The team's goal is to determine what happens in a vineyard when varying levels of smoke concentration occur. 

“Our goal in this research is to determine thresholds for wine grapes and how vintages can be impacted by varying levels of wildfire smoke,” said Dr. Oberholster, Vice-Chair & Professor of Cooperative Extension in Enology at UC Davis. “Through measurement and research, we are now learning how various concentrations of smoke are actually impacting fruit on the vine.”

Agrology will host a free webinar on August 10th with Dr. Oberholster titled: “The Art and Science of Smoke Taint Analysis and Prediction.” 

Read More

California Supreme Court Shuts Down COVID-19 Liability Claim from Worker's Wife: 4 Key Takeaways for Employers

Last week, the California Supreme Court handed employers a win by making it clear that it is outside of their duty to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to employees' household members. While this was a win for employers, Fisher Phillips reminds employers to take steps to ensure a safe workplace and shared an article highlighting the top four takeaways for employers.

Read More

University of California Grape Day

Join UC scientists and their collaborators on August 8 at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier to showcase research results that are relevant to local viticulturists and enologists. Topics to be discussed include Chemical and Rootstock Management for Nematode Management on Grapes, Rootstocks for Salinity and Drought Stress in San Joaquin Valley, Topical RNAi to control Powdery Mildew Infection of Grapevine, Spray Deposition and Drift in Grape Pest and Disease Control, and more. Registration is not required.

Learn More

In the News: AEM: The Environmental Benefits of Precision Agriculture Quantified

Morning AgClips shared an article highlighting AEM's study, "The Environmental Benefits of Precision Agriculture, which examined the impact of various technologies on the production of row crops, broad acre crops, roots and tubers, as well as forage. The study determined that farmers who use precision agriculture technologies use less to grow more which reduced both cost and the environmental impact.

Read More

In the News: Central Coast Wine Grape Market: What You Need to Know for 2023

Record rainfall, cool weather, and slow market sales among various other challenges have made it difficult to predict the market environment and future supply on California's Central Coast. Read this Q&A with Amanda Higgins interviewing Audra Cooper of Turrentine Brokerage to learn more about the 2023 Central Coast winegrape market.

Read More

In the News: A Glass of Wine a Day Could Help Keep Frailty Away as We Age

A team of researchers recently published an article in the July issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that nutrients in wine and foods could help prevent the onset of frailty in adults over the age of 55. The researchers found particular benefits from the flavonol quercetin, which is found in red wine. Cheers!

Read More

Upcoming Events and Trainings

SCVTG July Meeting - Pierce's Disease of Grapevines Ecology and Management

The Sonoma County Vineyard Technical Group's July Meeting will feature Dr. Rodrigo Almeida, Professor of Ecology & Emerging Infectious Diseases at UC Berkeley will review and discuss all aspects of Pierce's disease of grapevines ecology and management.

When and Where:

  • July 20, 11 am, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Santa Rosa


Lodi Grape Harvest Safety Seminar

The annual Lodi Grape Harvest Safety Seminar, hosted by the Lodi District Grape Growers Association and the Lodi Winegrape Commission, is offered FREE of charge to Crush District 11 grape growers and their employees. Topics will include Mechanical Harvest Safety, Night Work Safety & Cal OSHA Nighttime Outdoor Agricultural Operations Standards, Heat Illness Prevention, & more.

When and Where:

  • July 27, 8:00-11:00 am, Lodi Grape Festival Grounds


Train the Trainer: Forklift Safety Workshop (Spanish)

In this 4-hour course hosted by Napa Valley Grapegrowers, you will learn about Cal/OSHA requirements, how they affect your company, and how to comply with Cal/OSHA standards. By the end of the day, you'll have the training materials, tools, and knowledge to establish an effective "in-house" forklift operator training program.

When and Where:

  • July 28, 8:00-1:00 pm, Napa Valley College


Lodi Grower Meeting - Harvest Challenges

Join CAWG and the Lodi District Grape Growers Association (LDGGA) for an informative morning session designed to enhance your preparedness for the upcoming harvest season and the potential challenges a late harvest poses. A range of essential topics will be covered, including understanding winegrape contract language, implementing best practices for effective communication and documentation with winery buyers, crop insurance reminders and considerations, and what to do if your grapes are exposed to wildfire smoke.

When and Where:

  • August 4, 9:00 am, Lodi Grape Festival Grounds, Burgundy Hall


Acres U.S.A. Healthy Soils Summit

This annual event held in Seaside is essential for ranchers, growers, and farmers looking to improve their soil health management systems. An optional half-day farm tour to Paicines Ranch and Pinnacle Organically Grown Produce is included.

When and Where:

  • August 23-24, Seaside




2 - Harvest Preparedness Webinar - Safety Reminders and Updates


8 - CAWG Board of Director Meeting & Outgoing Chair Dinner


23-25 - Unified Wine & Grape Symposium



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