October 22, 2020
L to R: Robert Rivas, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, John Balletto and Marc Levine.
CAWG Hosts Legislators for Vineyard Tour and Discussion of Wine Industry
Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), new chair of the Assembly Ag Committee, is in the middle of a three-week statewide tour to hear from farmers, farmworkers and other ag industry members.

Today’s visit was at Balletto Vineyards in Santa Rosa, where CAWG staff and board members were able to talk with him about current challenges and ongoing efforts within the wine/winegrape industry. Joining Rivas were Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) and Marc Levine (D-Marin County) and legislative staff.

THANK YOU to CAWG board members John Balletto (host), Tom Slater, Duff Bevill and Karissa Kruse for your participation in this educational event. Mike Martini of Sonoma Alliance for Vineyards and Environment and employees of Bevill Vineyard Management also attended.

CAWG Director of Government Relations Michael Miiller said, “CAWG's top priority is advocating in Sacramento and in D.C. for our growers. When lawmakers can meet one-on-one with growers who are directly affected by the policies they pursue, it helps them appreciate how things really work on the ground. I cannot overstate the value of meetings like this.”
CAWG Board Election: Thank You for Your Service and Leadership
CAWG is pleased to announce our new and re-elected board members. They begin the new term on Dec. 1. Officers will be announced after the November board meeting.

CAWG District 1
  • Cameron Mauritson, Mauritson Farms, Healdsburg (first term)
  • Taylor Serres, Serres Ranch, Sonoma (first term)

CAWG District 2
  • Mike Testa, Coastal Vineyard Care, Buellton (third term)
  • Gregg Hibbits, Mesa Vineyard Management, Templeton (second term)

CAWG District 3
  • Tom Slater, Slater Farms, Clarksburg (third term)
  • Bill Berryhill, BB Vineyards, Ceres (third term)
  • Bob Lauchland, Robert Lauchland Vineyards, Lodi (second term)
  • Craig Ledbetter, Vino Farms, LLC, Lodi (first term)

CAWG District 4
  • Stephen Kautz, Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys (third term)

CAWG District 5
  • Davindar Mahil, Creekside Farming Co, Madera (third term)
  • Paul Wulf, Wulf Vineyards, Fresno (second term)
  • John Chandler, Chandler Farms, Selma (first term)
Government Relations Report
It is widely accepted that California businesses are exposed to increased liability under California’s legal framework that encourages litigation instead of solving the problem outside a legal proceeding. But a recent study from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform shows that this is a national problem, not a problem unique to California.   
The study, Tort Liability Costs for Small Businesses, shows that the U.S. tort system’s commercial liability costs totaled $343 billion in 2018; small businesses shouldered $182 billion, or 53 percent, of those costs. Those costs are having a major impact on businesses that are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting lawsuits. 
The study also found that the smaller the business, the higher the liability. The smallest businesses, those with less than $1 million in annual revenue, bore 39 percent of the costs.
This is why California legislators are pushing for reforms to California’s highly litigious system of problem resolution. Reforms of the Private Attorney General Act, like SB 1129 (D-Dodd, Napa), would be a good start. 

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / (916) 204-0485
Sonoma County Winegrowers Survey Results on 2020 Season, Farmworkers
Sonoma County Winegrowers this week released key findings from a grower survey showing the state of its winegrape community due to COVID-19 and wildfire challenges. The survey also includes data regarding the county’s vineyard workers.

Key findings:
  • More than 70 percent of all Sonoma County winegrape growers anticipate having at least some grapes that will go unpicked or be rejected by wineries due to the wildfires.
  • Grape growers estimate that the total tonnage of unpicked grapes due to marketplace dynamics, COVID's impact on local wineries and tourism, and the fires will exceed 50,000 tons. This is on a lower than average base of 180,000 tons due to the anticipated lighter crop this season.
  • The estimated crop value for winegrapes that were not harvested equates to about $151.7 million.
  • Today, more than 80 percent of local vineyard workers in Sonoma County are full time, a nearly 20 percent increase since 2017. 
New Brand Identity for Lake County Winegrowers
The Lake County Winegrape Commission (LCWC) has launched a new logo and messaging to showcase the region’s distinct identity: high-elevation mountainous terrain, volcanic soils and sunlight. According to LCWC, the new logo was designed for several audiences, including grape buyers, members of the wine trade, wine enthusiasts and casual wine consumers.

>LCWC + WINE ENTHUSIAST WEBINAR: Nov. 17 at 12 p.m. / “Volcanic Wines – How Soils in Volcanic Regions Create ‘Intensity of Place’”
2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Concept Proposals Due Friday, Oct. 23
Reminder: Concept proposals for the program are due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 23. All proposals must be submitted in the FAAST system.

State Minimum Wage Increases $1 on Jan. 1
Effective Jan. 1, 2021, California’s minimum wage will increase from $12 per hour to $13 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees, and from $13 per hour to $14 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees. Due to SB 3, signed into law in 2016, the minimum wage will be adjusted on an annual basis until it reaches $15 per hour in 2022 for large businesses and 2023 for small businesses. Some cities and counties have also set a local minimum wage. The higher of the local or state minimum wage applies in those areas.

With over 30 harvests, the G3 Ag Team has deep experience in winegrape hauling. Our operational expertise and agile planning combine to provide responsive service for wineries and grape growers large and small. Click on image or here to view video.
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.
LAO Reports on California Wildfire Costs
Two new publications addressing the state’s wildfire response, prevention and mitigation have been released by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Total spending on CalFire fire protection, resource management and fire prevention has grown from $800 million in 2005-06 to an estimated $3.3 billion in 2020-21. (Oct. 20)

This post discusses the administration’s recent notice to the state Legislature, which estimates state emergency costs of $1.3 billion to fight this year’s wildfires. It provides context on the extreme wildfire season of 2020, as well as implications for the state budget. (Oct. 19) 
Forest Management Efforts Include Trillion Trees Initiative, Council
President Trump on Oct. 16 signed an executive order establishing the One Trillion Trees Interagency Council, which will be co-chaired by the secretaries of agriculture and the interior. The order’s intention is “to promote healthy and resilient forests, rangelands and other federal lands by actively managing them through partnerships with states, tribes, communities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.”

Bipartisan bill introduced in February 2020.

The U.S. Forest Service and partners are preparing to restore forests ravaged by fire to be more fire adapted and resilient to future climate conditions. (Oct. 15)

Q&A with Rep. Bruce Westerman, the only registered forester in Congress and author of the Trillion Trees Act, about better forest management. (Oct. 6)
Resources and Articles
COVID-19 in the Workplace: AB 685 Reporting Requirements for Employers
CAWG yesterday sent out an e-blast regarding AB 685, a bill signed by Gov. Newsom that provides COVID-19 reporting requirements for employers. This new law does the following:

  • Requires employers to notify employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and to report workplace outbreaks to the local health department. 
  • Requires the California Department of Public Health to publicly report information on workplace outbreaks. 
  • Authorizes Cal/OSHA to enforce COVID-19 hazards as an imminent hazard to provide immediate protection for workers. 

Resources and Articles

California Department of Public Health: COVID-19 statistics and resources (updated daily)

California’s tier assignments: View map – As of Oct. 20, nine counties are in yellow (minimal), 14 in orange (moderate), 23 in red (substantial) and 12 in purple (widespread).    

Housing for the Harvest: Twelve counties are now participating: Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Madera, Riverside, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Yolo.

Wine Business, Oct. 22

CalChamber representatives address the Cal/OSHA Board vote in November on pending emergency COVID-19 regulations and why the five-day public notice period given by the agency is problematic for employers.
Oct. 21

Data and tier assignments are updated every Tuesday.
Virtual Symposium! Registration Opens on Tuesday, Nov. 3
Opens on Nov. 3 at 9 a.m. PDT. CAWG member discount codes will be made available in the coming week. Codes will be emailed and mailed. 

Unified is offering various sponsorship and advertising opportunities with its new virtual conference environment.

October issue

October issue

AgNet West, Oct. 19

Ag Alert, Oct. 21

Includes quotes from a California winemaker and UC experts.
Massive Science, Oct. 16

Update from Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis.
Oct. 14

Amador County
Winegrapes continued as the top crop in 2019, but suffered a 12.77 percent decrease in value from from the previous year. Production statistics for 2019 were 4,883 harvested acres; 17,286 tons; $1,251 per ton; value of $21.6 million. In comparison, production statistics for 2018 were 4,906 harvested acres; 18,201 tons; $1,362 per ton; value of $24.8 million. 
Santa Clara County
Winegrapes remained the No. 5 commodity in 2019. Production value was $11.5 million, up from $10.7 million in 2018. Production statistics for whites: 492 harvested acres; 1,919 tons; $1,498 per ton; value of $2.87 million. For reds: 1,207 harvested acres; 3,862 tons; $2,245 per ton; value of $8.67 million. In comparison, 2018 statistics for whites: 491 harvested acres; 2,111 tons; $1,383 per ton; $2.92 million. For reds: 1,182 harvested acres; 4,137 tons; $2,010 per ton; $8.3 million. 

Malcolm Media 2020 Virtual Expos

Nov. 6 / Central Coast Grape Expo
  • CAWG member employees presenting: Jeff Bitter (AGG) and Todd Azevedo (Ciatti Company) / “State of the Central Coast Grape Industry” / 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Nov. 10-11 / Tree & Vine Expo
  • CAWG staff and member employees presenting on Nov. 11: Johnny Leonardo (Ciatti Company) / “State of the Winegrape Industry” / 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. Michael Miiller (CAWG) / “Ag Legislative Update” / 1:15-1:45 p.m.

Nov. 12-13 / Grape, Nut & Tree Expo
  • CAWG member employee presenting on Nov. 13: Jeff Bitter / “State of the Wine & Concentrate Grape Industry” / 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

12 / CAWG board of directors meeting (virtual)