July 13, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: Water Legislation Update
  • CAWG's 49th Annual Meeting
  • CAWG July Issue of The Crush Newsletter
  • CAWG & Lodi District Grape Growers Host Lodi Grower Meeting
  • Past CAWG Chairman's Winery Voted Best of 2023 in San Joaquin County

Industry News:

  • REMINDER: July 14 Deadline Extension & Corrections to Emergency Relief Program Phase 2
  • Lake County Winegrape Commission Announces Second Year of Pruning School
  • 3rd U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit
  • In the News: California In Line to Receive $67.5 Million for Grid Resiliency Projects
  • In the News: Farmer's Insurance Pulls Out of Florida, Affecting 100,000 Homeowners
  • In the News: California in Line to Receive $67.5 Million for Grid Resiliency Projects
  • In the News: Raising a Stink Over Farming? Sorry, Charlie, But You Were Warned When You Bought Your House
  • DowneyBrand Legal Alert - California's Infrastructure Plan & CEQA Reforms
  • Ciatti California Report July 2023

Upcoming Events

  • Pre-Harvest Safety Workshop
  • Research on the Use of Precision Ag Technologies for Cropland Phosphorus Management Webinar
  • Lodi Grape Harvest Safety Seminar

Heat Reminders for Your Workforce

Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect throughout much of California through early next week. It is critical to ensure that you, and your workforce, are prepared. 

Review CAWG's eAlert with important heat illness reminders.


Lead Story: Water Legislation Update

This week, the legislature adjourned for a one-month summer recess. Before they headed out the door, the Senate and Assembly were facing a deadline to act on important water-related legislation.

CAWG is sponsoring two bills that address water supply challenges (considering the effects of climate change & drought) and are enjoying bi-partisan support. Both are continuing to move through the legislature.

Relative to the efforts to modernize (reduce) water rights, four bills were acted on in recent days. 

  • AB 1205 (Bauer-Kahan) was amended to require a study instead of creating a substantial new restriction to the private sector sale of water rights. 
  • SB 389 (Allen, D-Los Angeles) was significantly amended from one that would have authorized the forfeiture of a water right to instead authorize the Water Board to investigate whether a water right is valid. This bill arguably clarifies the authority that some believe the Water Board may already have.
  • AB 460 (Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda) and AB 1337 (Wicks, D-Oakland) proposed substantial threats to water rights. Both are now two-year bills. Two-year bills may not move forward in 2023 but could be revisited in 2024. 

There were also two bills that proposed to increase regulatory oversight of well permits. AB 1563 (Bennet, D-Ventura) & AB 429 (Bennett) are both two-year bills, with AB 1563 being one of the last bills dispensed with this week.

These developments represent significant wins for growers. CAWG will continue engaging on water issues in Sacramento as we advocate for a water supply system that respects water rights and focuses on the future. We need to assure that there is water for all, including agriculture, our communities, industries, and the environment.

The legislature reconvenes on August 14.

CAWG's 49th Annual Meeting

CAWG's 49th Annual Business Meeting was held virtually earlier today. The meeting included key updates from the past year at both the state and federal levels along with other issues of importance to California winegrape growers.

CAWG was excited to have Dan Dunmoyer, President and CEO of the California Building Association, as this year's guest speaker. His conversation with Michael Miiller, CAWG's Director of Government Relations, discussed the current challenges surrounding commercial property insurance, how we got here, and the broad coalition pushing for reforms to address the crisis. Steve Martin and Kristine Fox of Pan American Insurance Services joined the meeting to discuss our longstanding relationship and their wide array of insurance products. Kristina Keck from Woodruff-Sawyer provided an overview of the 401K/MEP Plan services available to CAWG members.

The meeting was recorded and is available online.

Special thank you to our Annual Meeting sponsors!

Watch Now

CAWG July Issue of The Crush Newsletter

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


  • Feature Story: Wildfire Smoke Exposure
  • Federal Focus: Federal Legislation Introduced
  • State Update: Rights
  • The International Welfare Commission: A Big Mac & Pinot Noir
  • Changes in COVID-19 Requirements
  • CAWG Board of Directors in Suisun Valley
  • CAWG's Annual Meeting
  • CAWG Hires Summer Intern
  • CDFA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Effecting Grape Crush Districts
  • Heat Reminders for Your Workforce
  • Regional Round-up: Lake County Winegrape Commission Announces Second Year of Pruning School
  • July 14 Deadline & Corrections to ERP Phase II
Read the July Issue 

CAWG & Lodi District Grape Growers Host Lodi Grower Meeting

Join CAWG and the Lodi District Grape Growers Association (LDGGA) on August 4 at 9am 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.


Don't miss this opportunity to equip yourself with valuable knowledge and strategies for a successful harvest season.


Speakers include:

  • Dale Stern, Downey Brand
  • Kristine Fox, Pan American Insurance Services
  • Dr. Anita Oberholster, Department of Viticulture & Enology, UC Davis

The meeting will be held at Lodi Grape Festival Grounds in Burgundy Hall.


Past CAWG Chairman's Winery Voted Best of 2023 in San Joaquin County

Peltier Winery & Vineyards has been named Best Winery and 2nd Best Tasting Room in San Joaquin County for 2023 by the readers of San Joaquin Magazine. Owners Rodney and Gayla Schatz are long-time CAWG members and Rodney was a past chairman of the association.

"We're incredibly excited to be recognized by our local community as a go-to winery in SJ County" says Hadyn Schatz, Vineyard Manager and son of proprietors Rodney & Gayla Schatz. "It's amazing to have watched my parents build this business from the ground up, and my sister, Faryn (Marketing Manager at the winery) and I are proud to help continue building on the values of quality, integrity and innovation from vineyard to bottle that they started with."

Read More

Industry News

REMINDER: July 14 Deadline Extension & Corrections to Emergency Relief Program Phase 2

The deadline for Phase Two of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) is tomorrow, July 14.

The deadline was extended and corrections were made to more accurately reflect 2020 and 2021 natural disaster impacts on crops, including winegrapes. The updated ERP Phase Two program provides a method for valuing losses and accessing program benefits to eligible producers, including winegrapes grown by the same producer for wine production. These adjustments are intended to ensure that the assistance provided aligns more closely with the actual damages and losses incurred due to these specific disasters.

More information can be found on the ERP Phase 2 Website.

Lake County Winegrape Commission Announces Second Year of Pruning School

The Lake County Winegrape Commission recently announced the continuation of the Lake County Pruning School, a successful, sold-out program launched in December 2022. The pruning school, designed to encourage one-on-one learning and engagement from participants, was able to benefit more than 100 attendees in English and Spanish during its first year. Class sizes are limited to 15 people to create an environment for participants to share ideas and exchange techniques. The pruning school is designed explicitly for vineyard owners, vineyard supervisors, crew leaders, and experienced vineyard workers.

“We are thrilled with the success of the first edition and look forward to enhancing next year’s classes with Simonit & Sirch,” said Debra Sommerfield, Lake County Winegrape Commission President. “The delivery of classes in both English and Spanish allows us to meet the educational needs of all vineyard workers and we’ll continue with this approach for the next edition.”

Four fundamental pruning principles that apply to all grapevine training systems will be covered throughout the class:

  1. CONTROLLED BRANCHING – Drive the development while respecting the vine’s organic growth.
  2. VASCULAR FLOW – Separate desiccated areas of the main vascular flow and ensure continuity of the sap flow through the structure of the plant.
  3. CUTS & CROWN BUDS – Reduce the surface area of the exposed wound and lessen the risk of wood disease.
  4. PROTECTIVE SPARE WOOD – Prevent desiccation of the vine.

Registration for the 2023-2024 Lake County Pruning School will open soon, and spots can be reserved by emailing the Lake County Winegrape Commission.

Read More

3rd U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

The third U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit will be held in Lodi, from April 30-May 1, 2024. A virtual option will be held on May 1.

Throughout the two-day event, participants will discover cutting-edge sustainable practices and the driving forces behind the increasing interest in environmentally and socially responsible winegrape growing and winemaking. The summit will include vineyard and winery tours, keynote speakers, and summit sessions focused on climate change and sustainability.

Learn More

In the News: California In Line to Receive $67.5 Million for Grid Resiliency Projects

California has been identified as one of nine states that will receive funding from the U.S. Energy Department to improve grid resilience.

The North Bay Business Journal reports that more than $67 million will be earmarked for projects in this round of funding for the Golden State under U.S. President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The California Energy Commission expects double that amount for its total allocation spearheaded through the massive $2 billion infrastructure bill signed by Biden in 2021.

Read More

In the News: Farmer's Insurance Pulls Out of Florida, Affecting 100,000 Homeowners

The insurance crisis continues. In an article released earlier this week, it was reported that Farmers Insurance Group announced the company would no longer write new policies or renew existing homeowner, auto, and umbrella policies. This decision affects about 100,000 homeowners.

Rate increases, coupled with escalating housing prices, and rising replacement costs have contributed to a 9% inflation rate in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach region, the highest rate in the nation among urban areas with more than 2.5 million people; the Tampa Bay area was third in the nation with an inflation rate of 7.3%, CNN reported.

Read More

In the News: Raising a Stink Over Farming? Sorry, Charlie, But You Were Warned When You Bought Your House

Homeowners have long been complaining about the inconveniences associated with farming (sights, smells, etc). However, as the Manteca/Ripon Bulletin reports, for the last three decades, when you close escrow on a home, you sign a form acknowledging it is a right-to-farm community. Meaning, the homeowner has no recourse to go after generally-accepted farming practices.

"It always strikes me as odd that many people are against new development once they move in because they want to preserve being on the edge of the country. At the same time, they will often complain non-stop about farm smells and odors drifting their way. Sometimes they complain to county and city authorities," writes Dennis Wyatt.

"They expect the farmland around them to stay forever, but at the same time they don't want to embrace farming. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact less than 2 percent of Americans still live either on a working farm or a hobby farm. As such, they are ignorant of what it takes to make sure food is available to put in their bellies."

Read More

DowneyBrand Legal Alert - California's Infrastructure Plan & CEQA Reforms

The team at DowneyBrand released a Legal Alert earlier this week that discusses the passing of California's Infrastructure Plan and Governor Gavin Newsom's CEQA and Species Reforms that were signed into law.

DowneyBrand writes that although the new legislation does not fundamentally reform California’s notoriously complex environmental review process, the new laws nonetheless provide minimal reforms worth understanding. The CEQA reforms in SB 149 target litigation – a source of costly delays for both private and public projects. All projects will benefit from modest changes to the administrative record process. Additionally, qualifying infrastructure projects will be eligible for litigation streamlining. Among the two dozen bills is also SB 147, which eases protections for several dozen “fully protected” wildlife species, allowing issuance of take permits under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in some cases.

Read More

Ciatti California Report July 2023

Provided by: Ciatti Global Wine and Grape Brokerage

Following an unseasonably cool spring and start to summer, California received some overdue 100°F+ heat in late June into early July, though unusually mild spells continue to interrupt these hotter periods, particularly in the Coast during the mornings. More normal, consistently hot weather is in the forecast for the rest of summer, but for now, the growing season is still running 3-4 weeks behind in many areas of the state, particularly in the Coast. There is talk in the Interior that the season has caught up a little in some areas, to something like 1-2 weeks behind, but the popular barometer of a ‘normal’ timetable – veraison on Lodi Zinfandel by July 4th – was missed, and indeed veraison was not apparent anywhere in the first week of July.

Consequently, it remains too early to provide a confident guesstimate of crop size. Berry sizing is underway and cluster numbers in general appear good, although shatter occurred on some varieties in some areas of both the Coast and Interior; mildew has also been an issue in places. In general, however, vineyards appear in good shape. Some growers have been thinning out the later-season varieties, potentially in an attempt to ensure they adhere to winery schedules and quality standards in a year in which grape demand is very slow. 

Read More

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Pre-Harvest Safety Workshop

Join Vineyard Team for this train-the-trainer workshop to head into harvest prepared. The workshop will cover machine operations, hand harvesting, tool safety, tractor safety, and personal protective equipment. 

When and Where:

  • July 14, Vineyard Industry Products, Paso Robles


Research on the Use of Precision Ag Technologies for Cropland Phosphorus Management Webinar

Dr. Douglas R. Smith from USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory will present research on the use of precision ag technologies to improve cropland phosphorus management.

When and Where:

  • July 20, Virtual


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




8 - CAWG Board of Director Meeting & Outgoing Chair Dinner


23-25 - Unified Wine & Grape Symposium



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