Your source for CAWG and industry news
January 4, 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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Reduction in Wine Excise Tax a Big Win for Wine Industry
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 incorporated the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 747/ S. 236) that will provide major financial benefits for all wineries. According to Wine Institute, it is the first reduction in wine excise taxes in more than 80 years and only the second reduction in the nation's history. The federal report in the January issue of The Crush (in mailboxes soon) will focus on the tax reform legislation and wine excise tax reduction.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) stated: "The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 makes extensive changes to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, including provisions related to alcohol that are administered by TTB. Those changes are effective Jan. 1, 2018. We are currently assessing the impact of these changes on TTB forms, regulations and systems, and will issue guidance and information in the coming weeks."

Government Relations Capitol Report
Last week, citing health reasons, Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) resigned his office. He had undergone five surgeries in 2017. He expects to fully recover from an unspecified condition, but his doctors recommend extended time to recuperate.
Ridley-Thomas was the chair of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee and is the son of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Gov. Brown will set a date for a special election to replace him.
Ridley-Thomas is the fourth Assemblymember (all Democrats from the Los Angeles area) to leave office in the last six months. The resignation leaves Democrats with 52 of the state Assembly's 80 members, two votes short of what once had been a two-thirds supermajority.
Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) left the Assembly in July when he was elected to Congress. He was recently replaced by Wendy Carrillo.
A special election is set for April 3 to replace former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), who resigned in November 2017 amid sexual misconduct allegations. Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills), who faces similar allegations, resigned on Jan. 1.
-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995

Crop Insurance Deadline is Jan. 31

Watch this  short video  for more information.

If you are planning to purchase winegrape crop insurance, you must sign up no later than Jan. 31 to have coverage for the 2018 crop year. 

Whether you are new to crop insurance or you have been purchasing it for many years, CAWG is committed to bringing you helpful information.  You can access a recording of  CAWG's crop insurance webinar online, read Pan American's article about crop insurance units and grape cluster freeze insurance in the January issue of The Crush (in mailboxes soon), or contact Greg Merrill at Pan American at (559) 492-5384.

UCD Vineyard: Red Blotch Found and Destroyed
Foundation Plant Services (FPS) recently announced that grapevine red blotch disease, caused by grapevine red blotch virus (GRBV), had been found in its Russell Ranch Vineyard.  All affected vines (only five of 4,132 vines in the vineyard tested positive for GRBV) were removed and destroyed.   FPS said it is carefully monitoring the vineyard blocks where GRBV was found and additional testing has been implemented to ensure that any occurrence of disease is immediately detected and contained.

CAWG Members Interviewed for California AgNet Videos
Positive economic trends reflect well on California coastal wine industry  Interview with CAWG board member Jeff Bitter, Allied Grape Growers, from the Sonoma Grape Expo.  WATCH
State of the North Coast wine industry Interview with Todd Azevedo, Ciatti Company, from the Sonoma Grape Expo.  WATCH

REMINDERS: Effective Jan. 1, 2018 

Small Employers Required to Electronically File and Pay to EDD
With the E-file and E-pay mandate (AB 1245), employers are required to electronically submit employment tax returns, wage reports and payroll tax deposits to the Employment Development Department (EDD). The requirement began 
Jan. 1 for employers with nine or fewer employees.
Information, tutorials, materials and other resources are available online.

Mileage Rate Increase
The standard mileage rates for the use of a car (as well as vans, pickups or panel trucks) increased to  54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.

CAWG members must register by Jan. 16 to receive a $200 discount. To register by phone, call 888-559-9530. If you need your Unified code, contact CAWG a 916-379-8995.

Gina Gallo, senior director of winemaking at E. & J. Gallo Winery and a third-generation winemaker. Register now before it sells out! Cost is $75.
Daily/hourly program.
Final days to take advantage of key sponsorship and ad opportunities! Visit the Unified website or discuss with Jenny Devine at (916) 379-8995.

WGA Leadership Luncheon to Feature Damien Wilson and 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 Unified Symposium)
WHERE: Hyatt Regency, Capitol View Room
>REGISTER (check back soon for updated page)


Cal Poly will become one of five universities in the country to have a pilot winery on campus, with the help of Compli.
New Times SLO, Jan. 4
This semester enology students can take the winemaking process from vine to bottle. 
ABC30, Jan. 3
The Lodi Grape Day on Feb. 6 will include a celebration of the retirement of Paul Verdegaal, who has been a UCCE viticulture farm advisor in San Joaquin County since 1986.
Lodi Winegrape Commission, Jan. 1
Reports on California, Argentina, Chile, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Ciatti Company

Agricultural robotics have a small, yet burgeoning market - vision systems, field robotics and stationary robots.
Growing Produce, Jan. 2

The coming year is poised for some significant changes to California agriculture. Several different sectors of the industry will be coming under new guidelines throughout 2018.
Porterville Recorder, Dec. 30

First Snow Survey of 2018: Below Average Snowpack
A dry December resulted in little snowpack. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted its first manual snow survey on Jan. 3 in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. The survey revealed a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 0.4 inches, or 3 percent of the average 11.3 inches in early January at that site. Statewide readings from electronic sensors (103 stations throughout the Sierra Nevada) indicate the snowpack's SWE is 2.6 inches, or 24 percent of the Jan. 3 average.
DWR's Grant Davis talked about last year's atmospheric rivers (ARs) and how increasingly those extreme weather events are what California relies on for much of its water supply. He said that often half of the state's water supply comes in the form of ARs. This winter, an atmospheric high-pressure zone spanning the western U.S. has persistently blocked ARs from reaching the state. If that zone moves or breaks up, storms could deliver considerable rainfall and snow.

Reclamation Aims to Increase Water Deliveries, Seeks Input
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comments regarding its effort to maximize water deliveries and marketable power generation from the Central Valley Project (CVP). Comments are due by Feb. 1.
According to a Reclamation press release, state and federal regulatory actions and other agreements have significantly reduced the water available for delivery south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. A news agency article reports that the plan is being criticized by environmental groups and will meet resistance from California officials.

New Groundwater Banking Project in SJV
A new groundwater recharge project will bank up to 45,000 acre-feet of water annually in the San Joaquin Valley. The Reclamation project, part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, will expand Pixley and Delano-Earlimart irrigation districts' groundwater recharge efforts and improve area groundwater levels. In addition to an 800-acre groundwater recharge basin, the project will install a 4 1/2-mile pipeline connecting the new recharge basin to the Friant-Kern Canal and 16 groundwater recovery wells within the Pixley Irrigation District.

Water Articles and Resources
Q&A with Eileen Sobeck, the new executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. Politics in Washington, she says, make this an important time for states to lead on water and climate issues.
WaterDeeply, Jan. 2
Blog post by Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.
California Water Blog, Dec. 31
The California Weather Blog - posts from Dec. 24 and Dec. 4

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.

Ag Safe: Ag Laws and Regulations for Growers and Farm Labor Contractors
Ag Safe is offering classes covering a dozen topics that will be held in Fresno, Paso Robles, Monterey and Oxnard in January through March. English and Spanish classes. Cost is $240 for members/$270 for non-members.

Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health is convening an advisory meeting to develop a proposed regulation for minimizing heat-related illness among workers in indoor places of employment.   Stakeholders and the public will be able to provide input.
WHEN: Feb. 8, 2018 / 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: 1515 Clay St. (2nd floor, room 1), Oakland