Your source for CAWG and industry news
January 19 , 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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Michael Miiller Joins CAWG as New Director of Government Relations

CAWG is pleased to announced it has hired Michael Miiller as its new director of government relations, effective Jan. 17. He will monitor a wide range of state public policy issues and represent CAWG before the California Legislature and key regulatory agencies. Previously, Miiller was chief of staff and communications director for Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin County). He oversaw and managed Levine's Capitol office, three district offices and the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee. Miiller has held various positions for legislative leaders in the State Senate and Assembly and served as a legislative liaison during the Wilson and Davis administrations. He also has experience in the regulatory arena and communications.
" Michael brings more than 30 years of public policy experience to this position," said CAWG President John Aguirre. "His tremendous knowledge, insight and leadership gained from working with legislators and agency officials will greatly benefit CAWG's advocacy efforts on behalf of winegrape growers."

Sonny Perdue Nominated for Ag Secretary

After two months of searching and interviewing, President-elect Donald Trump has named former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as his nominee for agriculture secretary, the final Cabinet official to be selected. Perdue grew up on a row crop operation in Georgia, eventually becoming a veterinarian and then owner of two businesses specializing in grain trading and trucking. He served in the Georgia State Senate from 1991 to 2001 and as governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. Perdue was an original member of Trump's agricultural advisory committee and one of the first candidates to be interviewed for the Cabinet position in late November. Several other candidates were interviewed for the position, including former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado. According to news sources, Perdue is not related to or affiliated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.

Four Californians Remain Members of House Ag Committee

Four representatives from California are returning members of the House Agriculture Committee, including Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) as majority members and Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) as minority members. On the Senate side, there are no Californians serving on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. 

Silicon Valley Bank Forecasts 2017 Wine Industry in Report

Silicon Valley Bank's annual State of the Wine Industry 2017 report, released this week, provides forecasts and predictions for the year ahead in wine. Highlights show strong market conditions overall and identify notable trends that may signal adjustments in consumption patterns and segment prices:

  • Wines sold between $12 and $25, and high-end luxury wines with an established brand, will grow in demand. Expect to see small price increases in these segments, with volume and price drops for bottles under $9.
  • Sales growth is predicted between 10 to 14 percent for the premium wine segment. Better retail conditions, strong consumer demand and good supply will collide to deliver improving industry performance.
  • Overall supply is balanced with shortages of high-quality pinot noir and cabernet, but excesses are evident in certain non-core varietals and for grapes destined for lower-priced wine.
  • Winery acquisitions to remain active through 2017.
  • Farm labor supply and costs will be the dominant concerns in the wine business in 2017. The labor force is inadequate in every growing area, which is leading to increased costs and more incentive to mechanize.
  • Total harvest in California for 2017 is predicted to be 3.95 million tons crushed, 7 percent above 2016.

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.  Applications are due by Feb. 3.  


Nat DiBuduo asks wine grape researchers to conduct a production cost study so growers can get a better handle on what they need to do to remain in business.
Western Farm Press, Jan. 18
The great winery sell-off of 2016 was just the beginning, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Bloomberg, Jan. 18
Ag economists Brent Gloy and David Widmar identify the top issues facing production agriculture this year.
Agricultural Economic Insights, Jan. 16
U.S. wine consumers are willing to pay more for wine produced using "sustainable" practices, according to new research presented at a Sonoma County grapegrower seminar.
The North Bay Business Journal, Jan. 16
Wine Business, Jan. 16
William B. Gould IV, appointed to lead the board Ag Labor Relations Board, announced his resignation, accusing the state bureaucracy of stalling one of his key proposals. Resignation letter
Los Angeles Times, Jan. 13

Unified NEXT WEEK! Visit 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.

CAWG members are invited to stop by the CAWG booth, located in the foyer of the Convention Center on J Street. We look forward to visiting with you!
>REGISTER: click here
>ARTICLE: Wine symposium sells out, brings thousands to downtown hotels /  Sacramento Business Journal, Jan. 13

Winegrape Growers 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. 

Grower Meetings: Federal Policy Update and Outlook Under the Trump Administration 

Thank you to all of the CAWG members who attended our Jan. 10 grower meetings to learn more about what to expect with Trump administration policies. More than 65 attended the Yountville meeting, while nearly 80 attended the Lodi meeting. Representatives from Cornerstone Government Affairs - CAWG's federal lobbying team - discussed tax reform, immigration, the farm bill, waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and more. If you would like to view the PowerPoint presentation, contact the CAWG office at 916-379-8995.

Atmospheric River Storms Result in Increased Water Allocations

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has increased its estimate of this year's State Water Project (SWP) supply from 45 percent to 60 percent of most requests. The agency may increase the allocation further with more rain and snow. DWR said the increase - which will deliver 2,536,267 acre-feet of water - is due to the atmospheric river storms that have filled reservoirs and brought flood waters to certain regions. SWP allocations in recent years have been 20 percent in 2015, 5 percent in 2014 and 35 percent in 2013.

$6M Agricultural Water Efficiency Program: Request for Proposals

CDFA and DWR are teaming up on a $6 million agricultural water efficiency program and have issued a request for proposals (RFP) from agricultural operations and agricultural water suppliers. Grant applications are due on April 21. DWR has set aside $3 million in funding from Proposition 1 for agricultural water suppliers to pressurize the delivery of water directly to growers. This modernizes water deliveries to match technological upgrades by growers to create more efficient irrigation systems. CDFA will provide $3 million in funding for growers to receive that water and utilize it through drip, subsurface drip and micro-sprinkler irrigation systems. An informational webinar about the program and application process will be held Jan. 23 at 10:30 a.m.
DETAILS / REGISTER: click here

Senators Introduce Resolution Opposing WOTUS Rule

Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), both members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, have submitted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of the waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The resolution calls the Clean Water Act "one of the most important laws in the United States and has led to decades of successful environmental improvements," but the WOTUS rule goes too far and violates the original intent of the Clean Water Act. The resolution is the latest push to vacate the WOTUS rule. In November 2016, 29 members of Congress sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump asking him to repeal the rule.

Center for Watershed Sciences Director Blogs About State's Drought

"In terms of surface water, most of California is no longer in drought," according to Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. In the Jan. 10 California Water Blog, Lund provided an update about the current state of the drought, reservoir levels and groundwater. He also offered a lengthy perspective about drought and water storage. "If every year is labeled a drought crisis or emergency, then 'drought' loses important meaning and urgency needed to motivate and conserve to higher levels in drier conditions. In addition to managing during drought, we must manage other years for normally dry conditions, which will often include deliveries less than desired and storing water and suppressing some demands in preparation for still-drier drought conditions."

Water Articles and Resources

Overtime for Irrigators Under New Law

The Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS) reports that it has received numerous calls since the beginning of the year asking whether AB 1066 (ag overtime law) changed the overtime-exempt status of employees who spend more than half of their time in a workweek doing irrigation work as of Jan. 1, 2017.  FELS believes that under AB 1066, the irrigator overtime exemption in Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 14-2001 continues to exempt irrigators from daily overtime until at least Jan. 1, 2019.

Employers Must File Forms W-2 by Jan. 31

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 deadline for filing their copies of Forms W-2 with the Social Security Administration. In the past, employers typically had until the end of February to file, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically. Now, Jan. 31 is the deadline for both distribution and filing. The new filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation, such as payments to independent contractors.

Federal Crop Insurance Deadline is Jan. 31

For answers to your questions and other helpful information about federal crop insurance, listen to a recording of CAWG's crop insurance webinar or contact Greg Merrill at Pan American at (559) 492-5384. CAWG is proud to endorse the services of Pan American and we encourage you to contact them for your insurance needs.

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 a.m.


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