January 30, 2020
Tomorrow (Jan. 31): Last Day to Sign Up for Crop Insurance!
If you are planning to purchase winegrape crop insurance,  you must sign up by Friday, Jan. 31  to have coverage for the 2020 crop year. 

For more information, visit the  CAWG website  or contact Greg Merrill at Pan American at (559) 492-5384.
USMCA Signed at White House Ceremony
President Trump on Wednesday signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during a White House ceremony, calling the deal “a colossal victory for our farmers, ranchers…and American workers in all 50 states.” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer thanked members of Congress who “made this a bipartisan success.”

Canada is the last country to ratify USMCA; its ratification process began this week. Cornerstone Government Affairs reports: “After ratification, the three countries will outline all obligations that must be met before the agreement takes effect. Once each country completes all necessary procedures they will exchange letters, triggering a 60-day clock for the agreement to enter into force.” 

Government Relations Report
When the California Legislature began the current legislative session after the 2018 election, there were 26 Republicans and 54 Democrats in the lower house. Since then, two Assemblymembers left the Republican party – Brian Maienschein of San Diego became a Democrat, and Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley became an independent. 
What’s happening in the Legislature is reflective of what’s also happening with voters. In blue state California, 44.06 percent of voters are Democrats, 23.58 percent are Republican and 26.74 percent are independent (no party preference). What’s most interesting here is the growing population of voters who are finding that neither party speaks to their issues and values. 
To address this, Chad Mayes and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have their New Way California campaign, which they describe as “a movement that seeks to put people above political parties to improve the lives of all Californians.” Former Congressman Tom Campbell has also started his Common Sense Party , which “will focus on increasing voter participation, and encouraging pragmatic problem-solving and fact-based decision-making in our state and local governments.”
New Way California and the Common Sense Party both see an opportunity to appeal to Democrats who think the party has gone too far to the left, and to Republicans who believe the party has gone too far to the right. As the political pendulum swings, those in the middle are often left behind. However, this time around, it seems those in the middle are trying to find their political voice. 

Today was the deadline for the Legislature to pass legislation that was introduced in 2019 but failed to be approved in the first house. These are Senate bills that were stuck in the Senate and Assembly bills stuck in the Assembly. 

In the last several days, dozens of bills have met their demise. This includes a bill to  revamp California’s CRV program , in part by adding wine and distilled spirits bottles to the program, and a bill that would have provided unlimited leave to employees  whose distant family members may have been harassed.

Additionally, a measure to create a legal " right to housing " failed passage, as did  a controversial measure  to make it easier for developers to build housing in “transit-rich” areas.

Other failed legislation included a bill to make  election day a state holiday , allow  cannabis companies to hand out free samples  to retailers, and prohibit landlords from asking about a potential tenant's criminal record during an initial rental application.

The greatest truism in the Legislature is that no bill is ever truly dead. This is because dead bills routinely come to life again in the form of another bill. However, this month, the Legislature said no to several bills that the Legislature believed were not fully cooked.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
Leafroll Virus Now Covered Under Tree Assistance Program
California Farm Service Agency has approved grapevine leafroll-associated virus (GRLaV) as an eligible disease under the Tree Assistance Program in all grape-producing California counties. To successfully pursue a loss claim due to a GRLaV, growers need to establish the presence of the virus in affected blocks utilizing commercial laboratory testing. Lodi Winegrape Commission’s Dr. Stephanie Bolton said, “We believe that this approval of leafroll virus is a crucial step in assisting farmers affected by leafroll virus, which can spread rapidly in areas with vine mealybugs and can decrease winegrape quality, lower yield, inhibit ripening, decrease a vineyard’s lifespan, and – as we have recently learned – contribute to the mystery/sudden vine collapse."

The February issue of The Crush will feature more information about this topic.

> USDA FSA TAP FACT SHEET (October 2019)
PD/GWSS Board and PD Advisory Task Force Meeting on Feb. 3
The meeting is open to the general public. Among the agenda items is a discussion of the spotted lanternfly.

WHEN: Feb. 3 / 10 a.m.
WHERE : CDFA, 2800 Gateway Oaks Dr. (room 267), Sacramento
Mark Your Calendar: Grape Crush Prelim Report Scheduled for Release on Feb. 10
CAWG will send an email upon release of the report.

Read Unified's Jan. 30 eNews for the following:
  • Parking and shuttle information
  • Unified Symposium app
  • Food trucks
  • Tuesday reception
  • Unified to be held at Cal Expo for one more year (Jan. 12-14, 2021)

CAWG's preferred partner for insurance products for more than 20 years. Group workers' comp, wine industry package, federal crop insurance, employee benefits...and more. For more information: 209-955-2600 or  email .
Providing the very best California crop insurance services.
Second Snow Survey of the Year: 'We're in Decent Shape Right Now'
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today conducted its second manual snow survey in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. The survey recorded a snow depth of 40.5 inches and a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 14.5 inches, which is 79 percent of an average February and 58 percent of the April 1 average at this location. SWE is the most critical number that officials look at because it reveals how much water is contained in the snowpack. Statewide, the current Sierra snowpack is 72 percent of average. California’s major reservoirs are still near or above historical averages.

Webcast for Navigable Waters Protection Rule (New WOTUS)
To gain a better understanding of the key elements of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, you can tune in to a Feb. 13 webcast (11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST) hosted by the U.S. EPA and Department of the Army. The webcast will be recorded and posted online at a later date.

Reminder: Post Form 300A Starting on Feb. 1
Cal/OSHA is  reminding all eligible employers  in California to post their 2019 annual summaries of work-related injuries and illnesses (Form 300A) from Feb. 1 through April 30. Instructions and form templates can be downloaded from  Cal/OSHA’s recordkeeping overview , which gives instructions on completing the log (Form 300) and annual summary (Form 300A). The annual summary must be placed in a visible and easily accessible area at each worksite. 
Tax Filing Season is Underway
The IRS kicked off tax return season this week. The filing deadline to submit 2019 tax returns is Wednesday, April 15. The IRS encourages taxpayers to use all of its available online tools and resources to help with tax preparation.

Declining sales will see many growers ripping out vines in the coming year, according to report.
Wine-Searcher, Jan. 30

North Bay Business Journal, Jan. 29

Threat of 100 percent duties on European wine has American producers, distributors reeling.
Western Farm Press, Jan. 29

CAWG members were among the honorees at the 20th anniversary event.
Wine Enthusiast, Jan. 28


Labor was the No. 1 issue for growers, according to American Fruit Growers’ state of the industry survey.
Growing Produce, Jan. 8

Allocations are reviewed monthly based on snowpack and runoff information and are typically finalized by May.
DWR, Jan. 24

2020 Sonoma County Grape Day
WHEN: Feb. 6 / 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (continental breakfast at 7 a.m.)
WHERE: Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa
ABOUT: UCCE and UC Davis experts will provide research-based information important to the production of coastal winegrapes.
Current Wine and Winegrape Research
WHEN: Feb. 11 / 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE:  UCD Conference Center 550 Alumni Lane, Davis
ABOUT: Researchers will give 20-minutes presentations on current winegrape and enology research.
CSWA Sustainable Winegrowing and Certification Webinar
WHEN: Feb. 12 & 25, March 10 & 18 / 10-11:30 a.m.

Free webinar to learn about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, how to complete a self-assessment using the online portal, and steps required to become Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.