Your source for CAWG and industry news
 January 18, 2018

January 23-25
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

January 24
Winegrape Growers of America Leadership Luncheon, Sacramento

February 21-22
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Temecula 

April 4
CAWG Winegrape Day in the Capitol, Sacramento

April 4
CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, Sacramento

April 5
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

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CAWG President Pens Op Ed on Immigration Issues, Political Climate in D.C.
CAWG President John Aguirre has written an opinion editorial highlighting federal immigration policies and the current political climate in D.C. -and how the winegrape industry is affected. The op ed appears in Comstock's, a monthly business publication. Excerpt: " The current political climate in Washington D.C., favors inaction over compromise and anti-immigrant rhetoric over immigration policies that would fuel economic growth. Continued inaction threatens to unleash dramatic change - not for the better - for California agriculture and our wine industry. We need compromise. We need common sense. We need to resolve our immigration mess."

California Immigrant Worker Protection Act Takes Effect
The California Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) took effect Jan. 1. According to the bill's author, David Chiu (D-San Francisco),
"The new law protects immigrant workers in the workplace by preventing ICE from conducting raids that violate basic constitutional rights. The bill requires employers to get a warrant before allowing ICE on a worksite and a subpoena before turning over personal employee information." If em ployers do not comply with the law, they may be subject to penalties of $2,000 to $5,000 for a first violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for each subsequent violation.  CAWG opposed this legislation.

> ARTICLE: 'We will prosecute' employers who help immigration sweeps, California AG says - Sacramento Bee, Jan. 18

House GOP Members Unveil Immigration Reform Bill, Includes Ag Labor Fix
Four House Republicans introduced on Jan. 10 the Securing America's Future Act (H.R. 4760). The bill contains text on agricultural worker reform ( view section), including the proposed H-2C program that would replace the H-2A program. According to a press release, the legislation "bolsters enforcement of existing immigration law, makes important reforms to our legal immigration programs, secures the border and provides a legislative solution for the current beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program."
The bill was introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and House Border Subcommittee Chairwoman Martha McSally (R-Ariz.). 

Government Relations Capitol Report

Today, AB 5 (Gonzalez-Fletcher) - known as the Opportunity to Work Act - finally died a quiet death as it was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 5 would have required that, if a company of 10 or more employees wants to hire additional workers, the employer must first offer those hours to existing workers before hiring another new person. 
The California Chamber of Commerce deemed AB 5 to be a "Job Killer." This bill was opposed by CAWG and virtually every industry in California. It would be nearly impossible under AB 5 for a grower to react to the sometimes-immediate need to hire additional workers.
There is an old adage in the legislature that "no bill is ever truly dead." But let's hope that AB 5 does not become a post-apocalyptic zombie haunting California employers.  
-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995

TTB Provides Guidance on Wine Excise Tax Reduction
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently created a web page containing some initial guidance on the changes to IRS Code of 1986 and excise tax rates - as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. TTB will be adding additional guidance and information to this page in the coming weeks.


GEELA Award Recipients Honored
CAWG member Terranova Ranch is among the recipients of the 2017 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), California's highest environmental honor. The program recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable contributions in conserving California's resources, protecting and enhancing our environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the state's economy. Terranova was recognized for pioneering and expanding the practice of on-farm groundwater recharge.

Unified NEXT WEEK! Visit the CAWG Booth!
The early bird registration deadline has passed for the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, but you can still register to attend for portions of the event or all three days. > REGISTER

CAWG members are invited to stop by the CAWG booth, located in the foyer of the Convention Center on J Street (near the escalator). We look forward to visiting with you!

WGA Leadership Luncheon to Feature Damien Wilson and the Rich Smith Award Presentation
Damien Wilson, the Hamel Family Faculty Chair of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, will deliver the keynote address at the Winegrape Growers of America Leadership Luncheon in Sacramento. Wilson arrived in California in 2015, following 20 years of professional experience in the production, distribution, promotion, sales and service fields of the wine sector.  The luncheon will also include a presentation honoring the recipient of the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award. 
WHEN: Jan. 24 / 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (held during the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium)
WHERE: Hyatt Regency, Capitol View Room



CAWG board member John Balletto and his wife, Terri, are profiled in this feature story.
Wine Industry Advisor, Jan. 18

Includes a message from Nat DiBuduo; an extensive article covering inventory, supply and demand, acreage and sales; an update on efforts regarding the Produce Safety Rule and TTB Notice No. 160 and 160B; and a profile of J & J Farms.
January 2018
Dollars outpace case sales, reflecting consumer willingness to spend more.
Wines & Vines, Jan. 15
Aaron Lange is interviewed about the winery/vineyard sustainability practices and partnerships with various organizations.
Lodi News-Sentinel, Jan. 11

CAWG members mentioned in this article about the trending varietal.
Napa Valley Register, Jan. 11
FPS has implemented a new policy to perform annual testing for red blotch and leafroll viruses for every vine at Russell Ranch. 
Wine Business, Jan. 10

Dr. Liz Thach of Sonoma State's Wine Business Institute writes about the labor situation at Cain Vineyard and five common labor options.
Wine Business, Jan. 16
John Cox, a Republican candidate for governor, said he supports construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but added that California's ag economy must continue to rely on immigrant labor.
Sacramento Bee, Jan 13

Water Articles and Resources
Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Brown's administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects.
The Mercury News, Jan. 12

2018 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 29, Tax Returns Due April 17
The IRS announced the tax filing season will begin on Monday, Jan. 29. and reminded taxpayers claiming certain tax credits that refunds won't be available before late February. The filing deadline to submit 2017 tax returns is Tuesday, April 17 (April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, which affects the filing deadline across the U.S.).   > DETAILS

IRS Warns Employers About W-2 Scam
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry are urging employers to educate payroll personnel about a Form W-2 phishing scam that affected more than 200 employers and hundreds of thousands of employees in 2017. According to the IRS, the Form W-2 scam has emerged as one of the most dangerous phishing emails in the tax community. During the last two tax seasons, cybercriminals tricked payroll personnel or people with access to payroll information into disclosing sensitive information for entire workforces.

Flu Season is Here - FAQs on Paid Sick Leave
The Department of Industrial Relations has a web page with frequently asked questions about California's paid sick leave.

Spread the Word! Scholarship Applications Due March 16
Each year the CAWG Foundation awards scholarships to several high school seniors whose parents or legal guardians are employed by California winegrape growers.  The application deadline is March 16, 2018.  Please share the information and link with your employees. Since the program's inception in 1998, the foundation has awarded $403,000 in scholarships.

UCCE 66th Annual Lodi Grape Day
Event features luncheon speech by retiring farm advisor Paul Verdegaal.
WHEN: Feb. 6, 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (retirement gathering 1:30-3:30 p.m.)
WHERE: 125 South Hutchins Street, Lodi

UCCE Grape Day - Sonoma County
WHEN: Feb. 8, 7-11:30 a.m.
WHERE: Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.
COST: $42 (includes breakfast)

Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Winemaker Showcase (Dinner and Auction)
The department's largest student-run fundraising event of the year. All of the money raised will support professional development opportunities for students in the department, including attendance at Unified.

WHEN: March 9 / 6-9 p.m.
WHERE: Oyster Ridge, Santa Margarita