Your source for CAWG and industry news
January 12, 2017

January 24-26
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

January 25
WGA Leadership Luncheon, Sacramento

February 9-10
CAWG Leadership Forum, Sacramento

March 15
CAWG Winegrape Day in the Capitol, Sacramento

March 15
CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, Sacramento

March 16
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

May 7-9
National Grape & Wine Policy Conference, Washington, D.C. 

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House Passes Sweeping Regulatory Reform Bill

On Wednesday the House passed the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 5), which aims to curb overreaching federal regulations. The bill passed 238-183 on a largely party-line vote, with five Democrats voting for it. The American Farm Bureau Federation said the bill would ensure transparency and accountability by regulatory agencies, reaffirm congressional intent in rulemaking and strengthen the public's right to know. Said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va. ), "The key to faster and stronger growth of our economy should be reforming our runaway regulatory state. The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 works to reverse the negative impact regulations are having on our economy and reforms the rulemaking process to help the American people." In a Reuters article, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) sai d before the vote that the act would "jeopardize the government's capability to safeguard public health and safety, the environment, workplace safety and consumer financial protections." 

Gov. Brown Proposes 2016-17 State Budget

On Jan. 10, Gov. Jerry Brown announced his budget priorities for the 2017-18 fiscal year. He continued to advocate for restrained growth in government spending and stressed the importance of the rainy day fund, which is projected to total $7.9 billion at the end of the 2017-18 budget year. A few of the proposals of interest to agriculture include:
  • $43 billion over 10 years for transportation priorities, paid in part by a new $65 fee on all vehicles and an 11-cent increase in the diesel excise tax.
  • $1.9 million of increased funding for the Department of Fish and Wildlife from the $2.7 billion allotted to the California Water Commission for water storage.
  • $15 million to the Department of Water Resources from the state general fund for 29 existing positions for statewide technical assistance and to provide detailed information on basin scale water use, water supplies and groundwater conditions to aid implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
  • Increase of $2.3 million for the water rights fund for five new positions and $1.5 million in contract funds to enforce reporting requirements and protect local groundwater resources in high or medium priority groundwater basins that fail to form local governance structures as required by SGMA.

Sonoma County Winegrowers to Establish Center for Ag Sustainability

Sonoma County Winegrowers are launching the Sonoma County Center for Ag Sustainability, through which winegrowers and a diverse group of experts would address challenges facing the local wine region. The center will be a strategic think tank to help develop innovative ideas and strategies to strengthen and build upon the region's sustainability efforts and its 100-Year Business Plan to Preserve Agriculture. The center kicks off as a two-year program this month.

Farm Groups Urge Trump to Maintain and Expand Trading Relationships

S ixteen major farm groups signed a joint letter to President-elect Donald Trump highlighting the importance of trade to America's farmers and ranchers. The letter urges the Trump administration to maintain existing markets and expand to new markets, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. " The importance of trade to America's farmers and ranchers cannot be overstated," stated the letter. "The share of U.S. agricultural production exported overseas is 20 percent by volume, with some sectors being much higher. Positive farm income throughout America would not be possible without access to foreign  markets, trade promotion, and trade agreements. New fair trade agreements are needed to enable U.S. farmers, ranchers, and agricultural exporters to compete - and win - in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world."

Reminder: Employers Must Use Revised USCIS I-9 Form

By Jan. 22, employers must use a new version (dated 11/14/2016) of form I-9 - employment eligibility verification - revised by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals - citizens and noncitizens - hired for employment in the United States. The new version includes changes designed to reduce errors and enhance form completion using a computer. Employers and employees are responsible for completing their respective sections.

Apply for the California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards

California vineyards and wineries are encouraged to apply for the 2017 California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.   Categories are Leader Award, Environment Award, Community Award and Business Award. The awards are presented by CAWG, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and The Vineyard Team.  Applications are now being accepted through Feb. 3.  


To register by phone, call 888-559-9530 or 781-688-8229. If you are a CAWG member and need your Unified code, contact CAWG at  916-379-8995.

Register today to attend the keynote speaker luncheon featuring Eric Asimov, noted New York Times wine critic, columnist and book author. Cost is $75.
Daily/hourly schedule
Visit the Unified website or discuss with Jenny Devine at (916) 379-8995.

Winegrowers of America Luncheon to Feature NZ Speakers and Rich Smith Award Presentation

Two legendary New Zealand winegrape industry professionals and a special award presentation are highlights of this year's Winegrape Growers of America Leadership Luncheon, held during the Unified Symposium. Guest speakers are David Edmonds, winemaker with Constellation Brands, Inc., and Jeremy Hyland, viticultural manager for Hyland Viticulture Ltd. New to the luncheon will be a presentation honoring the recipient of the first-ever Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award. The award is sponsored by WineAmerica and the National Grape & Wine Initiative. Cost is $75.
WHEN: Jan. 25 / 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hyatt Regency, Capitol View Room. 


State Water Board Holds Final Hearing on Draft SED, Extends Comment Period

The State Water Resources Control Board conducted its final hearing on Jan. 3 on the controversial proposed rule changes to the Bay-Delta plan and the draft revised Substitute Environmental Document (SED). The proposed updates  include potential changes to San Joaquin River flow objectives and southern Delta water quality objectives. The public comment period on the plan has been extended from Jan. 17 to March 17.
According to an Association of California Water Agencies article, numerous speakers testified to the State Water Board about their concerns regarding the draft plan, with many saying its proposal to increase unimpaired flows for fish species will not help fish and will result in inadequate flows for agriculture and Central Valley communities.
In his testimony, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) was highly critical of the plan and recommended to the agency to start over. "There are far too many flaws contained in the current report for it to be considered a viable starting point." Further, he said agricultural interests have leveled the criticism that "without non-flow measures, the proposal wastes precious water without any discernable benefit."

Stakeholders Invited to Comment on Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Draft Update

The Central Valley Flood Protection Board is asking growers and other stakeholders to submit comments on the newly released Central Valley Flood Protection Plan draft update - the first update in five years. The update recommends investments and policies to support comprehensive flood risk management actions locally, regionally and system-wide, rather than promoting specific projects. Legislation in 2008 required the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to create the flood protection plan to improve flood risk management in the Central Valley. The draft update lists the state's investment in flood management activities since 2012. California has invested about $20 million in regional flood management planning, floodplain risk management, flood risk reduction projects, operations and maintenance, and emergency response programs. Comments must be submitted by March 31 to

Water Articles and Resources

CSWA Workshops and Webinars

CSWA has several workshops scheduled on sustainable winegrowing and certification. Click on the links for more information and to register.

FEB. 7: Certified Sustainable Update Webinar, 10-11:30 am


Challenges and Strategies in Ag Labor Management Seminar

This seminar will provide valuable information and strategies to help deal with ag labor management, legal and regulatory issues. Hosted by UC Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with the California Farm Labor Contractor Association, Zenith Insurance and Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards.
WHEN: Feb. 1
WHERE: Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards, Temecula
COST: $80 before Jan. 20

65th Annual Lodi Grape Day

Half-day seminar will feature presentations on high cordon machine pruned trellis trials, trellis system evaluation for mechanization, vine mealybug control and grapevine trunk disease management. Luncheon speaker is Dale Stratton with Constellation Brands.

WHEN: Feb. 7, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: 125 South Hutchins Street, Lodi
COST: $25 for lunch