Your source for CAWG and industry news
October 19, 2017

October 24
Registration and housing for Unified open at 9 a.m. 

November 9-10
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Lodi

January 23-25, 2018
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

February 22-23, 2018
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Temecula 

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Cooperative Extension Specialists Report on Impact of Wildfire on Wine Industry, Grapes
Anita Oberholster and Karen Block, UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, have written a response about how the Northern California wildfires will impact the wine industry and how smoke taint may affect grapes. This follows a report on the current wildfires and the wine industry published last week by the UC Agricultural Issues Center.

DiBuduo Offers Personal Message on Wildfire Tragedy
Allied Grape Growers President and CAWG member Nat DiBuduo spoke to California AgNet about the impact the wildfires have had on people in the wine industry. In a 6-minute video, he talks about the loss of property and equipment, as well as the "unknowns" facing growers and wineries right now. "We're worried about the health and well-being of our growers and their families, and the families of the wineries and personnel," he said.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Benefits Available
Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are available for workers and self-employed individuals who lost jobs or had work hours substantially reduced as a result of wildfires in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sonoma and Yuba counties. The federal assistance is administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD). Affected individuals must apply   online   no later than Nov. 16, 2017. Claimants can also file by phone at 1-800-300-5616 (English) or 1-800-326-8937 (Spanish).

Financial Assistance From USDA's Tree Assistance Program 
Financial assistance for lost vines due to the wildfires (or other natural disasters) is available through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), a program administered through USDA's Farm Service Agency. The fact sheet has details about eligibility, payment and application information.

Worker Safety Guidelines in Fire Regions
Cal/OSHA is advising employers to take special precautions to protect workers from hazards from wildfire smoke. Resource materials provide guidance for employers and workers on working safely in conditions with heavy smoke.

CA WINE STRONG Formed to Raise Funds for Wildfire Relief
More than 30 California wine industry associations have come together for CA WINE STRONG, an effort to provide immediate and long-term aid to victims of the wildfires. Dozens of wineries, vineyards and other businesses have joined the network and will be  donating a portion of their sales during the balance of October to fire relief efforts . Funds raised will be distributed among three disaster relief funds in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Details about how to sign up as a participant are available on the website. CA WINE STRONG also plans to help with needed resources, such as generators, equipment, winery space and other items.  

Unified Registration and Housing Open Next Tuesday, Oct. 24 @ 9 a.m.
Your CAWG membership entitles you to a $200 discount on 1-day or 3-day registration. The discount may be used for all employees of your company, so the more you register, the more you save! If you need your discount code, please call Debby in the CAWG office at 916-379-8995.
>REGISTER (registration by phone will also be available)
Reserve early!! Contracted hotels with preferred Unified rates are listed online. Reservation links and phone numbers will be listed once housing opens at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24.

Government Relations Capitol Report

On the last night of session, the state Legislature unexpectedly took up and approved   AB 313 (Gray). CAWG supported this bill, as it would increase fairness and transparency in enforcement actions taken by the  State Water Resources Control Board. AB 313 would accomplish this by transferring the responsibility for conducting adjudicative hearings of certain water rights enforcement actions from the water board to a new water rights division in the  Office of Administrative Hearings.  
On Sunday, the last day to sign or veto legislation, Gov. Brown vetoed the bill, claiming it "would not work as intended" and "may further complicate the process."
However, recognizing that administrative law judges can be effective in resolving complex legal water issues, the governor's veto message directed the secretary of Cal EPA "to evaluate the potential role for administrative law judges and provide a recommendation on improvements to the board's hearing process."  
That recommendation is due by the end of the year and may spur additional legislation on this issue in 2018.
-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995 
Farm Bureau Survey Shows Chronic Farmworker Shortage
CFBF conducted an informal labor availability survey this past summer, with 762 California farmers and ranchers participating. Twenty-four percent of respondents were  winegrape growers . Highlights: Fifty-five percent of respondents experienced employee shortages. Of those with seasonal workforces, 69 percent had employee shortages.  Fewer than 3 percent of those responding use the existing H-2A agricultural immigration program. The survey also highlights new workforce dynamics and mechanization. "Despite all the efforts California farmers and ranchers have made to find and hire people to work on their operations, they still can't find enough willing and qualified employees," California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) President Paul Wenger said. 

TTB Reopens Comment Period for Proposed Grape Variety Names
In November 2016, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposed to amend its wine labeling regulations by adding more than 50 new names to the list of grape variety names approved for use in designating American wines. In response to requests from wine industry members and trade associations, TTB is reopening the comment period for 60 days. Comments are now due by Dec. 11, 2017. There are more than 20 grape name petitions from California wineries.
California Vineyards Awarded Water Efficiency Grants
Several California vineyard operations are among the recipients of grants through a joint program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Water Resources . The grant funding provided in the program is intended to address water use efficiency, conservation and reduction; greenhouse gas emission reductions; groundwater protection and sustainability of agricultural operations and food production.

Deadline Extended for 2018 Specialty Crop Grants
In consideration of those affected by the wildfires, CDFA has extended the application deadline for the 2018 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2017 using an online application tool.  


Article highlighting the board's quarterly meeting, held Oct. 17 in Sacramento.
Wine Business, Oct. 18
What research has shown about making wine with smoke-affected grapes.
Wines & Vines, Oct. 16
Harvesting some of the last grapes in Napa Valley and facing farmworker situation.
Los Angeles Times, Oct. 16
CAWG and E. & J. Gallo Winery quoted.
Growing Produce, Oct. 13
Chemicals from these blazes can give the libation an ashy flavor. CAWG quoted.
Scientific American, Oct. 14
Press release, Oct. 13
CAWG statement and list of resources for crop and property insurance claims.
Fruit Growers News, Oct. 11

You're Invited! Regional Dinner to Honor Outgoing CAWG Chair Aaron Lange
The CAWG board of directors invites members to an evening of wine, food and friends to celebrate the two years of outstanding leadership and contributions  of outgoing CAWG chair
Aaron Lange. We hope to see you there! Please RSVP by Nov. 3.

WHEN: Nov. 9 / 6 p.m. reception and 7 p.m. dinner
WHERE: Wine & Roses, Lodi
COST: $89 per person