November 12, 2020
CAWG Recognizes Outgoing Directors, Announces Reelected Officers
At today’s CAWG board meeting, outgoing directors were recognized for their leadership and commitment. We appreciate their efforts advocating on behalf of CAWG members.

  • Aaron Lange, LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards, Acampo
  • Marissa Ledbetter-Foster, Vino Farms, Inc., Healdsburg

CAWG officers were reelected by the board to serve for the 2020-2021 year.

  • Chair: Mike Testa, Coastal Vineyard Care, Buellton
  • Vice chair: Tom Slater, Slater Farms, Clarksburg
  • Vice chair: Davindar Mahil, Creekside Farming, Madera
  • Secretary: Jeff Bitter, Madera
  • Treasurer: Gregg Hibbits, Mesa Vineyard Management, Templeton
Government Relations Report
The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (board) is preparing to consider an emergency regulation that would set standards that apply to all industries to protect employees from COVID-19. The board’s Nov. 19 agenda includes possible consideration of the regulation, but the text of the language has not yet been made available for public review or comment. Such a regulation could take effect immediately. 
This regulation was petitioned for consideration and the board seems destined to act on this soon. An emergency regulation can be taken up with only five days of public review, and with no public review, under extraordinary circumstances.   
While the details are not yet known, proponents of the regulation seek compensation for employees who were exposed to COVID-19, regardless of where that exposure occurred. This means an employee could report to the employer that s/he was exposed to COVID-19 in social activities and the employer would be required to give the employee two weeks of paid leave with full benefits.   
Additionally, proponents of the regulation seek protections for employer-provided transportation and housing. This is even if the housing or transportation is simply facilitated by the employer, yet provided independently through a third party, such as a transportation company.   
This is a quickly evolving issue. CAWG is advocating for reasonable and workable solutions and will notify growers as things develop.   

California is a blue state. No doubt about it. However, this year there was no blue wave in California. Instead, there was a bit of a red undertow.   
This is evident as the votes for Biden did not carry to down-ticket races. While Biden is winning California by almost a 2-to-1 margin, Republicans are very competitive in some key races. This is especially true in suburbs like North Los Angeles County and in rural areas as well.   
Republicans may be a bit cautious as ballots continue to be counted. This is because in past elections, some Republicans who won on Election Day saw their victories disappear in the following weeks. However, this year Democrats voted early and most of those ballots were counted on Election Day. Late counted ballots so far are following the voter registration percentages by party.   
Proposition 15 seems to have failed (48% to 52%). In addition, some Republicans who had close results on Election Day have opened up leads in the last week: House of Representatives candidates David Valadao, Michelle Steel and Young Kim; state Sen. Scott Wilk; state Assemblymember Steve Choi; and Assembly candidate Janet Nguyen.   
The California Secretary of State has until Dec. 11 to certify the outcome of the election.


Ag Alert, Nov. 11

No on Prop 15, Nov. 10

-Michael Miiller / / (916) 204-0485
Clarksburg AVA Expansion Proposed, Comments Sought
The TTB issued a proposed rule in the Nov. 10 Federal Register to expand the 64,640-acre Clarksburg AVA by approximately 27,945 acres. The Clarksburg AVA (established in January 1984) is located in Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties, and the proposed expansion area is in Sacramento and Solano counties. The established and proposed areas are not located within any established AVA. James Reamer of Reamer Farms vineyard (CAWG member) submitted the petition. Comments are due on or before Jan. 11, 2021.

>AVA MAP EXPLORER (click box for “include proposed AVAs in search results”)

New Grape Variety Name Approved

In other TTB news, the agency has administratively approved the use of a new grape variety name: ciliegiolo. Wine bottlers can use this names, as well as other names granted administrative approval, to label American wines pending TTB’s next rulemaking.
Costa Pursues Role of House Ag Committee Chair, Receives Support From CA Ag Industry
Rep. Jim Costa – whose district includes Fresno, Madera and Merced counties – announced he is seeking the chairmanship of the House Agriculture Committee in 2021, after current chair Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) lost his reelection bid. According to a Farm Bureau article, a Californian has not been chair since 1867. “As a third-generation farmer, I have the firsthand experience, expertise and passion to connect with rural Americans and lead this committee through the difficult challenges ahead," said Costa, who is current chair of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee.

LETTER OF SUPPORT: Costa has been a proponent of issues important to agriculture, and CAWG is part of a coalition of ag industry associations supporting his appointment. Nearly 70 California organizations, including CAWG, signed a letter of support that was submitted to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Currently, five Democrats and one Republican serve on the House Ag Committee, although TJ Cox (D-Fresno) is losing to California farmer and former Rep. David Valadao in a rematch of their 2018 race. 
Bipartisan Effort Seeks to Protect Wine, Food Terms in Trade Talks
More than 110 members of Congress, led by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), signed onto a bipartisan letter asking to strengthen protections for American-made wine and food exports labeled with common or traditional terms. According to Costa, “The letter underscores concerns the European Union misuses protections meant for geographic indicators (GI) to enact unjustified trade barriers to block American exports, and advocates for a consistent trade policy that prioritizes specific market access assurances for these products in all trade-related discussions.” The letter was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative. A similar bipartisan letter from 61 senators was sent to these agencies on July 30.
Alcohol Beverage Associations Frustrated with Tariff War
Twenty U.S., European and United Kingdom beverage alcohol industry associations – including Wine Institute, Napa Valley Vintners and WineAmerica – are warning that new European Union tariffs will cause additional damage to the transatlantic drinks trade. “The application of excessive and unwarranted tariffs has to end,” the coalition stated in a Nov. 9 press release. “Hospitality businesses and our consumers, as well as producers, wholesalers and importers of distilled spirits, wine and beer are being slammed from both sides of the Atlantic in an aircraft dispute wholly unrelated to the drinks business. This is on top of the closings of restaurants, bars and distillery and winery tasting rooms because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” This follows the coalition’s Oct. 7 letter urging the immediate elimination of tariffs on wine, distilled spirits and beer.


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Grapes – Federal Multi-Peril Crop Insurance

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 1 / 10-11 a.m.
PRESENTERS: Greg Merrill and Kristine Fox with Pan American Insurance Services.
ABOUT: Learn more about the MPCI to insure and protect your winegrape production.

2021 Changes in Employment Law

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 3 / 10-11 a.m.
PRESENTERS: Brandon Kahoush and Collin Cook with Fisher & Phillips, LLP and CAWG Director of Government Relations Michael Miiller.
ABOUT: A roundup of state labor legislation, guidelines and regulations that recently took effect or will take effect in January 2021. Learn how these changes may apply to your operation and how best to comply with these new labor laws.

Grape Whole Farm Revenue Protection – Revenue Losses

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 8 / 10-11 a.m.
PRESENTER: Kristine Fox with Pan American Insurance Services.
ABOUT: Learn more about whole-farm revenue protection to insure and protect your farming revenue.

Report: Priorities for California Water
This new policy brief highlights how major events in 2020 have shifted the state’s water landscape and lays out priorities for local, state and federal action. Along with these events is the ongoing issue of drought. Key elements in the report include:
  • Ensure safe and affordable water. 
  • Collaborate to reduce uncertainties in ag water supplies. 
  • Invest in forest health as a vehicle for economic recovery. 
  • Make the most of limited resources for the environment. 

Resources and Articles

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

California’s tier assignments: Tier map
>Nov. 10 data: No counties moved to less restrictive tiers, but several counties regressed to more restrictive tiers. Six counties are in yellow (minimal), 18 in orange (moderate), 22 in red (substantial) and 12 in purple (widespread).    

>Nov. 4 data: Nine counties in yellow, 19 in orange, 20 in red and 10 in purple.

Data and tier assignments are updated every Tuesday.
Session Schedule, Details Now Posted

The full program is now available.

CAWG member discount codes have been emailed and mailed. Please call the office if you did not receive your code. 

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


3 / 10-11 a.m. / CAWG webinar: 2021 Changes in Employment Law