December 31, 2020
CAWG Part of Ag, Business Coalition Challenging COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards
CAWG, as part of a coalition of ag industry associations and business organizations, late yesterday filed a lawsuit challenging the COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS) recently approved by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (board). Our complaint alleges, among other things, that the board lacks statutory authority to impose many of the sweeping measures of the ETS on California employers. 
The requirements of the ETS are unprecedented and drastic. The ETS will cost small employers between $10,000 and $50,000 to comply in the first six months, depending on the situation. For the larger growers, those costs could exceed several hundred thousand dollars. Indeed, the ETS does more harm than good by creating standards that are impossible for some employers to comply with and could cause operations to completely shut down. 
The ETS is especially troubling for ag housing, in part because it substantially reduces housing for H-2A employees. It also hampers the ability to use hotel housing by requiring daily cleaning and sanitizing, even if a COVID-19 employee is being isolated in the hotel room on advice of the county health officer. 
As stated in the complaint, “the ETS does not solve a crisis as much as it creates one.” The case is expected to be considered in the next two or three weeks.

Prioritizing Vaccines for Ag Employees
Several ag organizations, including CAWG, have advocated to the Newsom administration that ag employees should be a priority in receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Lawmakers such as Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, have also pushed for this prioritization. 
Newsom was asked about vaccines during his Dec. 30 press conference announcing his new plan to potentially reopen schools. In answering the reporter’s question, Newsom said he expects ag employees to be prioritized and will be in tier 1B. This could result in ag employees receiving vaccine shots in the next few weeks. Newsom said he expects a formal announcement in a few days.  
Small Business Relief Grant Program Could Help Farmers
Farmers and ranchers can take advantage of the state’s $500 million in grant funding to be administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA). These grants – up to $25,000 – are targeted at small, vulnerable and disadvantaged businesses and nonprofit organizations. The round one application period is Dec. 30 to Jan. 8.

Details of COVID-19 Relief Package and Omnibus Appropriations Bill
Summary from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):
On a 359-53 vote in the House and 92-6 in the Senate, Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-relief package  and $1.4 trillion government funding package that gives critical aid to Americans, while securing federal agency operations through September 2021. President Trump signed the measure into law on Dec. 27. An estimated $13 billion will go directly to ag programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.


COVID-19 Resources and Articles
COVID-19 in CA: Tier map and dashboard
Widespread (purple) = 54
Substantial (red) = 3
Moderate (orange) = 1
Minimal (yellow) = 0

NorCal: 31.5%
Greater Sacramento: 17.4%
Bay Area: 7.5%
SJV: 0.0%
SoCal: 0.0%
Stay home order in four out of five regions.

NEW - Wine Industry Network:
Several wine industry experts, including CAWG members, share their thoughts in this video series.

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

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

Press release, Dec. 29

North Bay Business Journal, Dec. 28
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.
Providing the very best California crop insurance services.
Government Relations Report
Gov. Newsom on Dec. 22 announced that when Sen. Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president, he will appoint Secretary of State Alex Padilla to her vacant Senate seat. He will become the first Latino to represent California in the U.S. Senate.    
Before becoming secretary of state, Padilla served in the California Senate, where he earned a reputation of being a fair and pragmatic lawmaker. California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg issued the following statement:    
“Secretary of State Padilla has experience in all levels of government and a good track record of bringing people together to find common sense solutions. We look forward to working with Alex Padilla in his new role as United States Senator to make California’s economy and job creation a priority."  
Additionally, Newsom has also announced he will appoint Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) to succeed Padilla as secretary of state. Padilla and Weber will both serve out the remainder of their predecessor’s terms through 2022, when they will both likely run to be elected to their respective seats.  

-Michael Miiller / / (916) 204-0485
Craft Beverage Act is Permanent
The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) is now permanent! It was included in the massive year-end legislative package, which was passed by the House and Senate and then signed by President Trump on Dec. 27. Wine and other beverage alcohol groups had increased their lobbying efforts this fall and in recent weeks to encourage Congress to pass the CBMTRA before Dec. 31, when it was set to expire.

The CBMTRA reduces excise tax payments for all wineries, including the 4,000-plus in California. According to Wine Institute, California wineries have saved more than $225 million dollars in excise taxes since the bill went into effect in 2018.

CSWA 2020 Year in Review
The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) highlighted its numerous accomplishments in a year-end report: Specialty Crop Block Grant projects, California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing (updated edition), strategic plan, virtual events, harvest protocol workbook and more. >READ REPORT

Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing  Snapshot 2020 
2,247 certified vineyards 
204K acres / 32% of statewide acres

171 certified wineries
255M cases / 80% of statewide production

Wine bearing certified logo/claims
6.2M cases / 74.4M bottles 
PD/GWSS Project Proposals Due Jan. 31
The Pierce's Disease and Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board is accepting proposals for research and outreach projects on the following: Pierce’s disease and its vectors, especially GWSS; brown marmorated stink bug; grapevine fanleaf disease; grapevine leafroll disease; grapevine red blotch disease; mealybug pests of winegrapes; and spotted lanternfly. Proposals are due by Jan. 31, 2021 and awards will be announced in mid-May 2021. The board's research and outreach program is funded by the PD/GWSS winegrape grower assessment. 

Major Funding for NorCal's Sites Reservoir in Federal Budget Bill
Sites Reservoir was awarded $13.7 million in the 2021 federal spending bill, authorized through the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. This comes after the final feasibility report was submitted to Congress by the Bureau of Reclamation on Dec. 22. With the passage of the federal legislation, Congress has now appropriated about $23.7 million in WIIN Act funding to Reclamation for Sites Reservoir. The reservoir – located 81 miles north of Sacramento – creates an additional 1.5 million acre-foot off-stream storage during times of drought.

>PODCAST (The Case for Sites, Dec. 9)

Reclamation, Dec. 30
Sponsorship and advertising will increase your brand visibility in our virtual platform and on the UW&GS website! 
  • Breakout session sponsorship: $2,500 (three per session)
  • Regional wine associations: $2,000 (multiple available)
  • General sponsorships: Diamond ($10,000), platinum ($7,500), gold ($5,000), silver ($2,500), bronze ($1,500) and benefactor ($750).
  • NEW! Ad redirecting: Four packages available
  • Platform lobby banner: $5,000 (one available)
  • The theater (video): Four available per day
  • Commercial breaks: $2,500 

For more information about these or other opportunities, contact Jenny Devine at or (916) 379-8995.

Remember to Renew!
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.

The CAWG membership year is Dec. 1, 2020 to Nov. 30, 2021. Dues are $4.75 per acre and minimum grower dues are $150 a year for 31 acres or less. If you did not receive your renewal, please contact CAWG Director of Member Relations Natalie Collins at

Gov. Newsom issued an executive order to further assist communities recovering from wildfires dating back to 2017. The order extends the state’s prohibition on price gouging for Butte, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma and Ventura counties.
Dec. 30

A new $4.75 million grant supports High-Resolution Vineyard Nutrient Management project to develop sensor-based management strategies.
Good Fruit Grower, Dec. 30

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California halts Labor Department move on H-2A wage freeze
Progressive Farmer, Dec. 28

Press release, Dec. 24

FTC press release, Dec. 23

The two-part event on Jan. 12 and Jan. 27 is focused on business and ag recovery funding solutions for Napa Valley’s businesses affected by the recent wildfires, and wildfire prevention policy and long-term solutions for Napa County to mitigate the impact of future wildfires.

A new coalition of forestry, ag, business and environmental groups on Dec. 16 sent a letter to Gov. Newsom with a request to include $1.5 billion in the proposed FY 2021-22 state budget for wildfire resilience.


26-29 / Unified Wine & Grape Symposium - virtual