Your source for CAWG and industry news
October 18 , 2018

November 7
CAWG PAC reception at Bien Nacido, Santa Maria

November 8
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Buellton

January 29-31
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

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Registration: up to a $200 discount per registrant (through Jan. 22) for CAWG members! Call the CAWG office at 916-379-8995 if you need your discount code. Hotels rooms go fast, so reserve as soon as housing opens!
Get on board now and take advantage of sponsorship and advertising opportunities at the 2019 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Jan. 29-31. North America's largest wine and grape industry event is an ideal way to promote your business and increase your visibility. Opportunities include banners, signs, print and online ads. For more information, please visit the Unified website or contact Jenny Devine at (916) 379-8995. 
Wildfire Risk: PG&E Activates 'Public Safety Power Shutoff' for First Time
Heavy winds and dry conditions prompted PG&E to shut off electricity last Sunday to nearly 60,000 customers in several counties to reduce wildfire risks. The National Weather Service had issued a red flag warning the day before. The company issued  several press releases and also sent automated voice messages, texts and emails to customers alerting them to the extreme weather conditions with high wildfire danger and that power would be shut off. "The decision to turn power off is only done as a last resort and was made after considering a critical set of conditions," a PG&E rep said. Customers are urged to sign up for alerts.

Read more in the Government Relations Report.

Government Relations Report
A year ago, Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties were just beginning to recover from one of the worst wildfires in California history. As mentioned above, earlier this week PG&E shut off power in parts of Northern California for more than 24 hours. Some applauded this effort, while others claim PG&E overreacted -- and did so to retaliate against Cal Fire, which blamed PG&E for most of the 2017 wine country fires. A consumer group is asking for an investigation.

These planned blackouts are supposed to be driven by weather conditions that may cause downed power lines or other similar fire risks. The utility company is to notify businesses and residents so that steps can be taken to minimize the effect of the blackout. In this case, PG&E provided notice "anywhere from one to 48 hours in advance," of when the blackout would begin.  
The reality is that wildfire danger is now a year-round problem covering most of the state. Utilities are being asked to take more aggressive steps to protect populations from wildfires. There will no doubt be challenges -- like those experienced this week -- as Cal Fire, the utilities and the Public Utilities Commission implement new fire prevention policies, as a result of lessons learned last year.

Inland Empire Republicans have seen increased numbers of Los Angeles Democrats moving to the region to seek more affordable housing. Two-term Republican Assemblymember Marc Steinorth knew that 2018 was going to be a difficult election year and decided against seeking re-election. Instead, he is running for San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. 
James Ramos is running to replace Steinorth. He is a community college trustee, business owner, and a San Bernardino County supervisor. He is also a San Manuel tribal leader. His opponent is Henry Gomez Nickel, mayor pro tempore of the City of San Bernardino. Nickel is also a member of Teamsters Local 1932. Married in 2013, Nickel's husband immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador.
Like much of the Inland Empire, voter registration in this district has changed over the years, and Democrats now hold a 41.2 percent to 30.8 percent lead over Republicans in voter registration.   
Ramos, the Democrat, appears to be the frontrunner in the race to replace Steinorth.

This week U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and challenger State Senator Kevin de León met in San Francisco at a forum of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). This is essentially the only debate they will have before election day.  > VIDEO
They covered a variety of issues including health care, the environment, immigration, water supply, and much more.  Feinstein has been in office since 1992, and de León presents her most significant challenge since taking office.
Feinstein is a favorite for re-election: She's led every poll of the race, with the latest PPIC survey last month putting her at 40 percent and de León at 29 percent among likely voters.

-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995 

US Formally Announces Trade Talks with Japan, EU and UK
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Oct. 16 notified Congress that the United States intends to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom. "We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses," Lighthizer said. In a  statement , Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said he was pleased with the announcement, recognizing that "these are critical markets for farmers.... representing hundreds of billions of dollars in exports of U.S. goods and services."

Winegrapes No. 1 in Amador County; Value Continues to Increase
Winegrapes were the top crop in Amador County last year with a 27 percent increase over 2016.  The county had 4,572 acres with a total value of $22,982,700. The crop has seen major increases in value in the past few years. In 2016, there were 4,260 acres with a total value of $18,027,840.  In 2015, there were 4,533 acres with a total value of $14,630,903.   > REPORT

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Executive Director Departing; Search Begins for Successor
Executive Director  Jennifer Porter announced that she will be leaving the 500-member organization (CAWG member) at the end of 2018, after seven years in the position. Among Porter's many achievements were the recognition of 11 new sub-AVAs within Paso Robles and the Wine Region of the Year award by Wine Enthusiast in 2013.  An 11-member search committee, consisting of members of the Paso Robles wine community, has begun the process of finding her replacement. Interested candidates can visit u nder  classifieds  in the coming weeks. 


A look at the family-owned operation (CAWG member) from its early years through today.
Western Farm Press, Oct. 18 

Article focuses on UC Davis enologist Anita Oberholster's research.
Capital Public Radio, Oct. 17
Inductees include winegrape growers/vintners Richard "Rip" Ripken and Stephen Borra and former San Joaquin County viticulture farm advisor Paul Verdegaal.
Record Net, Oct. 17
The Miller family is consolidating many of its businesses across the wine industry under this new entity, which falls under The Thornhill Companies (CAWG member).
Press release, Oct. 17
A mild, even season is shaping up to be a blockbuster vintage, vintners say. CAWG members quoted.
Press release, Oct. 15
The science experiment is being conducted by the nonprofit Sustainable Conservation.
Record Net, Oct. 13
The potentially sizable crop is not finding as many eager buyers as in the past few years, but it could be too early to tell if this signals a significant change in demand for California's choicest grapes.
North Bay Business Journal, Oct. 11
A San Francisco judge said she is considering ordering a new trial over whether the product caused a groundskeeper's cancer.
CBS News, Oct. 11


Voters to decide on 11 ballot measures during November election.
KCRA3, Oct. 17

Articles and Resources
A recent law and a new court decision have done a better job of connecting surface water and groundwater.
Public Policy Institute of California, Oct. 15 

Press release, Oct. 12


IRS Guidance on Tax Law Changes
With just a few months remaining in 2018, the IRS is highlighting important information for small businesses and self-employed individuals to help them understand and meet their tax obligations.  Pass-through businesses, small C-corporations, Schedule C filers (independent contractors) and farmers are all affected by the new law.

The IRS recently issued the following news releases:

CAWG PAC Reception · Nov. 7 · Join Us!
Click on image to see full flyer / registration form.

Tree & Vine Expo ^
WHEN: Nov. 6 / 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, Turlock
FEATURES: Grower seminars, grower/PCA breakfast, industry lunch, PCA credits.

Central Coast Grape Expo
WHEN: Nov. 9 / 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Mid-State Fairgrounds,  Paso  Robles
FEATURES: Grower seminars, grower/PCA breakfast, industry lunch, PCA credits.

Grape, Nut & Tree Expo
WHEN: Nov. 13 / 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Big Fresno Fairgrounds
FEATURES: Grower seminars, grower/PCA breakfast, industry lunch, PCA credits.

UCCE Seminar: Current Issues in Vineyard Health
Foundation Plant Services Director Deborah Golino will lead this seminar focusing on topics such as Pierce's disease, powdery mildew and Botrytis bunch rot diseases, and mealybugs and grapevine leafroll viruses.  

WHEN: Nov. 29 / 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane, Davis
COST: $210 (includes materials and lunch)   

California Farm Labor Contractor Association's 8th Annual Ag Labor Issues Forum
Sessions will include updates on H-2A programs; immigration and I-9s; new labor laws for 2019; worker transportation; wage and hour compliance; conducting internal investigations; workers comp insurance; workforce management...and more.
WHEN: Nov. 14-15
WHERE: Tachi Palace and Conference Center, Lemoore