November 21, 2019
YOUR SOURCE FOR CAWG AND INDUSTRY NEWS. FOR CAWG MEMBERS ONLY.
The office will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29. CAWG eNews will return on Thursday, Dec. 5. CAWG staff wishes you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones and friends. We are grateful to all of our members whose active participation and involvement make CAWG an outstanding organization representing winegrape growers. Cheers!

TOP NEWS ITEMS
CDFA to Host Public Workshop on Amendment to Grape Pricing Districts
In August, CAWG member Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association (SVVGA) sent a formal request to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to petition to amend the boundary definition of Grape Pricing District 5 in eastern Solano County. The effort was filed on behalf of the association by Roger King, chair of the SVVGA Growers Committee. The last such amendment was on July 24, 1985.

In response, CDFA will hold a public workshop ( notice ) on Dec. 17 to allow SVVGA to present its petition, to receive public comments and to encourage industry discussion. Representatives from CDFA and USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will be present.

Farm Workforce Modernization Act Advances
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act was approved by voice vote by the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 20, putting it one step closer to consideration by the full House of Representatives. Ahead of the committee markup, some 300 ag groups and businesses sent a letter to House leaders in support of the bill ( H.R. 5038 ). “While the bill does include a few provisions that raise significant concerns for the agricultural community, we are committed to working together throughout the legislative process to fully address these issues,” the letter states. The American Farm Bureau Federation, which did not sign the letter, stated the legislation “falls short of a long-term solution” and is calling for improvements

USMCA Update: Change in Outlook from Last Week
Last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said a USMCA deal is “imminent” and “all comes down to enforcement.” Today, according to The Hill , Pelosi said “I’m not even sure if we came to agreement today that it would be enough time to finish.” There are less than 10 session days left in the 2019 calendar year.

Pelosi and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) met with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka earlier this week and then issued a statement. “Today, we met with…Trumka and reviewed progress in House Democrats’ USMCA negotiations with the U.S. Trade Representative. We can reach an agreement on USMCA when the Trade Representative makes the new NAFTA agreement enforceable for America’s workers.”

Cornerstone Government Affairs reported that members of the USMCA working group met last week, where battleground House moderate Democrats pushed to rally support for the agreement. 
Government Relations Report
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT’S UP, DOC?
This week,  a report by the state auditor  found that failures within the Department of Industrial Relations’  Division of Workers’ Compensation  (DWC) are delaying injured workers’ access to services. This report is of interest to employers who closely watch their workers’ compensation premiums, as California already has a higher-than-average cost of handling claims and delivering benefits.
 
Specifically, the report concludes DWC has inadequately overseen and regulated qualified medical evaluators (QME). DWC has not ensured that it has enough QMEs to meet demand. Additionally, DWC does not provide due process when it denies renewal of certain QMEs. DWC is also failing to assure that QMEs produce high-quality reports.
 
This means that when there is a dispute between an injured worker and an employer, there may be substantial delays for that worker in having access to a QME. Additionally, workers could be prolonging treatment while they wait to figure out how it will be paid for, to the detriment of both employees and employers. 
 
The report  recommends  that the California Legislature may need to update the fee schedule for compensating QMEs. To the extent increased program costs are offset by program efficiencies, this is a good thing. 
 
Workers’ comp premiums have been on the decline for each of the last five years. However, historically, whenever program costs go up, premiums increase as well. 
 
CALIFORNIA’S FISCAL HEALTH
California Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek is responsible for providing nonpartisan monitoring and analysis of California’s economy and the state’s annual budget. The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) this week released its forecast,  The 2020-21 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook
 
In general, the LAO believes the economy will continue to grow, but at a slower pace than in recent years. “However, we think the risk to this year’s economic outlook has increased compared to recent years. Specifically, weakening can be seen in data on housing markets, trade activity, new car sales, and business startup funding.”
 
The LAO estimates the state has a surplus of $7 billion for 2020-21 and concludes that the state has the capacity to take on new and ongoing financial commitments. The LAO also reports, “The state is in good shape to weather a recession typical of the post-World War II era. This does not mean, however, that the state is prepared to weather any possible recession.”
 
Senate leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said, “Today’s multi-year forecast continues to prove that the Legislature has been a strong steward of California’s finances.”
 
Let’s hope that all of this means no new or increased taxes in the near future. 
 
The 2020-21 budget year runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.  The state budget  will be released in January and must be approved by the Legislature by June 15.  


- Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
Economic Report Shows Steady Growth for San Diego County Wine Industry
The 2019 San Diego County Economic Impact of Wineries report – published by the San Diego County Vintners Association – shows an increase in several categories in 2018. County wineries contributed about $58.6 million to the local economy ($8.6 million more than 2017). They also generated $41.1 million in gross sales, a 57.1 percent increase over 2017 sales and a 71.9 percent increase over 2016 sales. The report provides an industry overview, sales data, harvest and varietal information, workforce details, and policies and priorities.
Wine Institute 2019 Harvest Report: Cool Temps, Long Growing Season Result in High-Quality Crop
The seven-page report includes a growing season overview and brief regional reports for El Dorado County, Lake County, Livermore Valley, Lodi, Madera County, Mendocino County, Monterey County, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma County and Temecula Valley.

> REPORT

CAWG MEMBERSHIP
Renew Your CAWG Membership!
Thank you for your continued support in ensuring a strong unified voice for the winegrape industry. CAWG is proud to be the only statewide organization focused exclusively on issues affecting you and your operation. All renewal invoices were sent in early November with detailed information on your ability to renew online. The CAWG membership year is Dec. 1, 2019 to Nov. 30, 2020. Dues are $4.75 per acre and minimum grower dues are $250 a year for 52.6 acres or less. If you did not receive your renewal, please contact CAWG Manager of Member Relations Natalie Collins at natalie@cawg.org .


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CAWG SEMINARS AND WEBINARS
Crop Insurance 101
WHEN : Dec. 4 / 10 - 11 a.m.
PRESENTER: Kristine Fox, Pan American Insurance Services
ABOUT: An important part of your 2020 planning process is risk management of your most valuable asset -- your crop. Learn more about the federal crop insurance program to insure and protect your winegrape production.


Crop Insurance 102: Fires, Floods and Other Natural Disasters
WHEN: Dec. 11 / 10 - 11 a.m.
PRESENTER: Kristine Fox, Pan American Insurance Services
ABOUT: Following the Crop Insurance 101 webinar, learn more about claims involving smoke, flood and wildlife damage.
> REGISTER  


Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, Protect Against Market Losses
WHEN : Dec. 18 / 10 - 11 a.m.
PRESENTER : Kristine Fox, Pan American Insurance Services
ABOUT: Want to protect your crop against price and market losses? Learn more about whole farm revenue protection and if it’s right for you.

CAWG FOUNDATION
Spread the Word! CAWG Foundation Now Accepting 2020 Scholarship Applications
For more than 20 years, the CAWG Foundation has awarded thousands of dollars annually in college scholarships to students whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower. The four-year scholarships are $8,000 each for students attending a University of California or California State University campus. The two-year scholarships are $2,000 each for students attending a California community college. The Robert Miller Scholarship for Viticulture and Enology is awarded to a Central Coast student who is enrolled or will enroll at Allan Hancock College or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The application deadline is March 6, 2020.


ARTICLES OF INTEREST
VINEYARDS & WINE
Support for local farmworkers and their families impacted by the recent wildfires.

Press release, Nov. 20

It’s one small step for the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars founder and Judgment of Paris winner, and a leap for California wine.
San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 20

Lodi Winegrape Commission, Nov. 18

Entomology Today, Nov. 7

Ciatti Company
WATER & WEATHER
UNIFIED
Sponsorship and Ad Opportunities
Promoting your brand at the 2020 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium is a BIG opportunity you should take advantage of!
 


Registration and Housing

CAWG members receive up to a $200 discount (per employee) on their Unified registration. Call the CAWG office at 916-379-8995 if you need your discount code.


INDUSTRY EVENTS
Advanced Manufacturing in Agriculture Regional Workforce Advisory Meeting
Nov. 22 / 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. / Woodland

Current Issues in Vineyard Health
WHEN: Dec. 3 / 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
WHERE: UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane, Davis