December 3, 2020
Information About 2020 Grape Crush Report Survey and Smoke Affected Winegrapes
Many winegrape growers in areas affected by wildfire smoke may wonder how grape prices and tonnage will be reported for the 2020 Grape Crush Report. CAWG last week issued a press release that addressed this issue and provided information for processors. CAWG urges every processor of winegrapes to complete and return their survey promptly. Completed questionnaires are due back to CDFA no later than Jan. 8, 2021.
COVID-19 Surge & What's Next
With California and much of the nation experiencing record-high and tragic numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Gov. Newsom today announced a new regional stay-at-home strategy based on ICU capacity.  

Newsom’s primary concern is the healthcare system could become overwhelmed and patients needing care could have nowhere to turn. He is also concerned that this could not be a worse time to shut down industries hoping to recover a small part of 2020’s devastating fiscal losses through an increase in economic vitality during the holidays.   

Newsom’s approach divides the state into five regions (NorCal, Greater Sacramento, SF Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and SoCal) and then provides for a three-week regional stay-at-home order (similar to that in place in April) when a region dips down to 15% of availability in ICUs. Some regions could reach this threshold in the next few days. 

For the wine industry, this means if a region is under a stay-at-home order, agriculture is part of the essential infrastructure and ag workers are essential, meaning vineyard operations can continue. For wineries, production operations can also continue, but tasting rooms must shut down and offer only curbside pickup or shipping for sales.

Additionally, an emergency COVID-19 regulation took effect on Monday, creating strict workplace rules for prevention of the spread of COVID-19. The new requirements are very broad and far reaching. Wine Institute is joining CAWG in co-hosting a webinar on Friday, Dec. 4 (see below) to discuss the new regulation in depth. Please join us. –Michael Miiller
CAWG-Wine Institute Webinar: COVID-19 Emergency Workplace Standards
WHEN: Dec. 4 / 10-11 a.m.
PRESENTER: Fisher Phillips will present and provide guidance.
ABOUT: The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board hastily approved new emergency regulations that place strict requirements on employers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. All California employers are expected to comply with these regulations. This webinar will discuss the regulation and how it applies to wineries and winegrape growers.

COVID-19 Resources and Articles
Tracking COVID-19 in CA: Tier map and dashboard
Minimal (yellow) = 0
Moderate (orange) = 1
Substantial (red) = 5
Widespread (purple) = 52 (99.2% of CA population)

About CA's COVID-19 restrictions: NEW regional stay home order FAQs

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

Housing for the Harvest: Program website (13 counties are now participating)

Desert Sun, Nov. 20
Data and tier assignments are updated weekly.
Government Relations Report
Since 2004, the disposal of pressure treated wood has been allowed at municipal landfills, where the wood is required to be separated out to protect against any potential for chemicals leaching into the water basin. Unfortunately, this successful law allowing this disposal expires on Dec. 31. This is because Gov. Newsom vetoed SB 68 (Galgiani, D-Stockton), which would have continued the method of disposal of treated wood waste. 
While SB 68 had bipartisan and unanimous support in the California Legislature, Newsom vetoed SB 68 stating, “While the generation of this waste may have justified the allowance for alternative management standards, this waste is hazardous and poses a risk to both human health and the environment and necessitates periodic review of its statutory authorization.”   
What happens next is proving to be a challenge. This wood cannot be burned or mulched. Additionally, treating disposal of pressure treated wood as a hazardous waste requires the use of a hazardous waste hauler, who would take the wood to a hazardous waste landfill. The reality is those landfills are few and far between, are pretty much full and therefore will not accept this wood waste.   
Consequently, at the moment, there is nowhere to dispose of pressure treated wood under California law. That is why CAWG is working with stakeholders and the Newsom administration to identify safe and appropriate means for disposal of this wood waste. We hope to identify workable solutions in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned. 

County elections officials reported final results for presidential electors to the California Secretary of State on Dec. 1, and are required to report all other state contests by Dec. 4. Results will be certified by Dec. 11.

-Michael Miiller / / (916) 204-0485
In Memoriam: Robert Hartzell
We are saddened to share that former CAWG President Robert Hartzell passed away on Nov. 21. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Bob served as president for 18 years, starting in 1978. He worked tirelessly on behalf of California winegrape growers and the wine industry. On March 28, 1996, he was honored in the House of Representatives for his hard work and dedication that contributed to the success of California winegrape growers. We invite you to read his obituary for more information about his life, distinguished career and volunteerism, awards and memorial donations. California winegrape growers are incredibly grateful for all that Bob did in leading this industry.

A bit of history: In the early years, CAWG faced the challenge of growing its membership and raising funds. To save CAWG from folding, Al Scheid challenged the board to pay a year’s dues in advance. The board then hired Bob as president. Bob and Al embarked on a successful membership drive. Their work was supported by early CAWG leaders – Jerry Fry, Ron Metzler, John Kautz, John Ledbetter and others – who understood the value of CAWG’s mission.
Rep. David Scott Elected House Ag Committee Chair
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) prevailed over Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) for the chairmanship of the House Ag Committee in the 117th Congress. House Democrats today voted for Scott by a 144-83 vote. Earlier this week, the House Democratic Steering Committee had selected Scott over Costa as its nominee for the position. Nearly 70 California organizations, including CAWG, signed a letter of support for Costa that was submitted to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also backed Costa in a letter of support.

Podcast: How the 2020 Fires Are Impacting the Grape Market
The Vineyard Team’s Dec. 3 podcast features Audra Cooper, Central Coast grape broker and partner at Turrentine Brokerage (CAWG member). She explains how the grape market has been on a roller coaster throughout 2020. In mid-April 2020, the grape market saw its highest bulk inventory at 23 million gallons; by November, that quantity had reduced to 8.5 million gallons. With this year’s wildfires, there are still questions about the quality of the 2020 vintage.

>PODCAST (35 minutes)
USDA's New AskUSDA Streamlines Customer Service
USDA in November launched AskUSDA, which will serve as centralized contact and resource center (“one front door”) for customers’ phone, chat, web and email inquiries. For example, farmers who may have questions about loan programs can contact AskUSDA and be quickly connected to agency experts.
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.
NEW: Wine Tasting Session!
The World is Changing but the Varietals We Grow Have Not. Are We Missing Out? is a wine tasting session on Thursday, Jan. 28 (1-2:15 p.m.). Participants will be able to purchase a tasting kit for $75 with five wines in 187 mL bottles (a pour and a half). Half of the kits will include the ambulo blanc and the other half will include the caminante blanc. Kits are limited, so act today! For details and to purchase a kit, click here. NOTE: You do not need to purchase a kit to attend this session. Questions?

Membership Renewal Reminder
Thank you for your continued support in ensuring a strong unified voice for the winegrape industry. The CAWG membership year is Dec. 1, 2020 to Nov. 30, 2021. 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 Director of Member Relations Natalie Collins at

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.


Grapes – Federal Multi-Peril Crop Insurance

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

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 they may affect your operation and how to comply.


Grower Input Needed on Western Water Quantity
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is hosting a virtual, public listening session to hear from stakeholders about water quantity in the West – as it relates to NRCS programs. Registration is required.

WHEN: Dec. 17 / 7 a.m. PT

State Water Project Allocation Set at 10 Percent
The Department of Water Resources announced an initial water allocation of 10 percent (422,848 acre-feet of water) for State Water Project contractors for the 2021 water year. The allocation will likely change depending on rain and snowfall amounts this winter. Dec. 1 allocations in the past several years were 10 percent for 2020 and 2019, 15 percent for 2018, 20 percent for 2017, 10 percent for 2016 and 2015, and 5 percent for 2014 (due to the drought).
Reservoir and Drought Conditions
>The latest reservoir conditions map shows most major reservoirs below historical average mark.

>As of Dec. 1, most of the state ranges from abnormally dry to extreme drought. Read a drought summary for the West and see statistics comparing current conditions with conditions at this time last year. 
Fresno County
The county's total gross production value for 2019 was $7.7 billion, down 2.31% from last year’s adjusted total of $7.9 billion. The total gross value of all grapes remained in the number two spot (behind almonds) at $962.8 million. For winegrapes (crushed), 2019 stats were 699,000 tons, $300 per ton and value of $209.7 million. In comparison, 2018 stats were 711,000 tons, $317 per ton and value of $225.4 million.

Ag Alert, Dec. 2

Written by California-based Dr. Mark Greenspan, who has more than 30 years of scientific viticulture research and viticultural field experience.

North Bay Business Journal, Nov. 30

California AgNet, Nov. 23

California AgNet, Nov. 23

The Grapevine Magazine, November-December issue

Online resources.


4 / 10-11 a.m. / CAWG-Wine Institute webinar: COVID-19 Emergency Workplace Standards