October 3, 2019
TTB Launches Online AVA Map Explorer
A cool new online tool – AVA Map Explorer – allows you to view the boundaries of all 200+ established and proposed AVAs on a single map. To include proposed AVAs in the search: after clicking the start exploring box, check the box on the left side of the page. When you select a specific AVA, a window opens with useful information and links:

  • Date the AVA was established
  • State and county where it’s located
  • Other AVAs it is within OR that it contains
  • A link to public rulemaking docket
Government Relations Report
In the last few weeks, utilities have  shut off power  in Sonoma, Napa, Butte, Nevada, Yuba, Placer and Plumas counties. Power was also shut off a  second time  in Butte, Nevada and Yuba counties. This is part of the ongoing effort by utilities to minimize fire risks during red flag warning periods of dry and windy weather. 
It is difficult for businesses to plan for these outages as the utilities warn of a potential power outage in advance, but sometimes provide very short notice when conditions change quickly, necessitating an immediate shut off. As a result, many  wineries are relying on backup generators  for power so that they can continue accepting grapes from growers when the utility company shuts off power.
This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom  signed a series of bills  aimed at improving California’s wildfire prevention, mitigation and response efforts. The 22 bills reflect recommendations in the  Governor’s Strike Force  report released in June. The report recommended the Newsom administration, California Public Utilities Commission, local communities and utilities work together to reduce the incidence and severity of wildfires.
In signing the bills, Newsom said, “These bills represent important steps forward on prevention, community resilience, and utility oversight.” 

If you want to get sued, California is the place to be as we have one of the  worst lawsuit climates in the country,  according to a  recent survey  of senior U.S. business executives. At No. 48, California is almost last in the overall national ranking. Only Louisiana and Illinois ranked worse than the Golden State.
This is from the 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States, conducted by the Harris Poll for the  U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform . The survey asked respondents about 10 key areas of state liability systems. These key areas were then organized by the top five best and worst states.
California was not in any “best” category. However, California landed in the “worst” category for nine out of the 10 key areas. California stands among the worst in:

  • Damages
  • Treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits
  • Overall treatment of tort and contract litigation
  • Six other categories
The survey also confirms that a state’s litigation environment has an impact on important business decisions. In fact, 89 percent of survey respondents reported that a state’s litigation environment is likely to affect important business decisions at their companies, which could have economic consequences for California.
There is no doubt that California’s litigious climate is affecting companies’ decisions on whether to locate or do business here. The question now is whether lawmakers have the will to change that climate.

Bills recently signed/vetoed by Gov. Newsom

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
USMCA Was Announced One Year Ago
The United States, Mexico and Canada announced on Oct. 1, 2018 that they had negotiated the USMCA – and one year later , supporters are frustrated that there is no Congressional vote on the horizon. While the impeachment inquiry continues on Capitol Hill, pro-USMCA legislators, organizations and businesses are still pressuring for swift passage. 

During an Oct. 2 news conference , Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats are “making progress” on the agreement. “This is an issue of concern around the country and we want to be sure as we go forward that we are strengthening America’s working families and farmers who are very affected by this.” She added, “We are on a path for yes,” but want it when it is right in terms of enforceability.

In its U.S. rural economic review published this week, CoBank states “it appears unlikely that the deal will be put to a vote before 2021.” 
UCCE Sonoma County Seeks Growers for Multi-Year Vineyard Irrigation Survey
Sonoma County farm advisors need growers to collaborate on a survey of vineyard irrigation water use. The survey is designed to measure actual water volume applied in individual blocks with the use of a pressure switch plumbed into a single irrigation drip line. The “hands-off project” will explore how growers utilize irrigation water over the course of several years and improve the estimates of groundwater extraction used by the groundwater sustainability agencies. Growers interested in participating can click here for survey details and contact information.
Celebrate the Leadership of CAWG Chair Bill Berryhill and Outgoing Directors
Mark your calendar for a CAWG celebration on Thursday, Nov. 7!

Join us for a reception and dinner to recognize outgoing CAWG chair Bill Berryhill and outgoing CAWG directors for their leadership and years of service. We will give special recognition to Berryhill for stepping up to lead the association for the past two years. Harvest will be over, so it's a perfect time to gather for a wonderful celebration.

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CALL 916-379-8995.
Full Reservoirs as California Starts New Water Year
“The significant rainfall and snowpack made for a great water year in 2019, so we start the new year in a good place,” Department of Water Resources (DWR) Director Karla Nemeth said this week. Water year 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020) begins with nearly all of California’s major reservoirs above historical average . For example, Shasta Lake is at 125 percent of average, while San Luis Reservoir is at 131 percent of average. Water year 2019 highlights from DWR:

  • There were more than 30 atmospheric rivers with many making landfall in Northern California.
  • The state’s snowpack on April 1 was 175 percent of average.
  • Statewide reservoir storage is 128 percent of average through the end of September, which is approximately 29.7 million acre-feet.
Blog: How the USDA Helps CA Farmers Steward Water and Land
New blog post from the Public Policy Institute of California : USDA runs a large portfolio of programs to promote conservation of soils, water and wildlife habitat on farms. California gets on average $150 million a year from USDA’s resource stewardship programs, operated by Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service.

UC Davis Receives $3.5M for Specialty Crop Pest Management Research
UC Davis is one of four universities that will split $11 million in federal funding for research on pest management for specialty/minor crops. The investment is made through the Minor Crop Management Program, also known as the Interregional Research Project (IR-4). “This collaborative public-private research effort will focus on applying innovative solutions to pest management problems that often are otherwise not available to specialty crop farmers,” USDA Deputy Undersecretary Scott Hutchins said in a press release .

CAWG President on New Smoke Exposed Winegrape Research, Grower Assistance
In a six-minute video with California AgNet, CAWG President John Aguirre talks about federal funding for smoke exposure research, as well as how growers impacted by wildfires and smoke taint can get federal assistance. 
Buy Tickets Soon for Sensor Technology Workshop
The National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) and USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are hosting the  NGRA-ARS Sensor Technology Workshop on Nov. 13 in Sacramento. According to NGRA, only 200 tickets are available and half are already committed! The agenda includes five sessions:

  • Introduction to Sensor Technologies
  • Remote Sensing and Irrigation Management
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Data Integration and Information Transfer
  • Sensors in the Real World
Relation Insurance Workers' Compensation 101 Seminar
Relation Insurance is hosting an in-person training seminar in Paso Robles on Oct. 17 to guide you through the workers’ comp claims process and present ways to minimize costs.

Seating is limited! To reserve your spot, email Alicia Cervantes at alicia.cervantes@relationinsurance.com . Click on image to view the flyer.

Preparing the Vineyard for Winter (Webinar)
WHEN: Nov. 4 / 2 - 3:30 p.m.
ABOUT: Key tips and practices for preparing your vineyard for winter and how to prevent erosion in the vineyard during the rainy season.

Tree & Vine Expo  
WHEN: Nov. 12 / 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, Turlock
FEATURES: Grower seminars, free grower/PCA breakfast and industry lunch, PCA credits.

Sonoma Grape Expo
WHEN: Nov. 15 / 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, Cloverdale
FEATURES: Grower seminars, free grower/PCA breakfast and industry lunch, PCA credits.

Grape, Nut & Tree Fruit Expo
WHEN: Nov. 19 / 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Big Fresno Fairgrounds, Fresno
FEATURES: Grower seminars, free grower/PCA breakfast and industry lunch, PCA credits.

California Farm Labor Contractor Association’s Ag Labor Issues Forum
For FLCs, growers, HR and safety managers, supervisors, insurance professionals and those with an interest in ag labor issues.

WHEN: Nov. 20-21
WHERE: Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, Lemoore

November 6
CAWG PAC event / Galletto Ristorante, Modesto

November 7
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Modesto

November 7
Networking & Wine Reception / Outgoing CAWG Chair Dinner, Modesto