Your source for CAWG and industry news
December 6 , 2018

January 29-31
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

January 17
CAWG / Lodi District Grape Growers Joint Meeting, Lodi

January 30
Winegrape Growers of America Leadership Luncheon, Sacramento

February 26
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

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USMCA Signed by Three Countries, Needs Congressional Approval
President Donald Trump,  Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Nov. 30 signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Buenos Aires. The trade agreement still needs to be approved by Congress, which may occur in the first quarter of 2019. The California Chamber of Commerce has  outlined the next steps in the approval process . In response to the signing, Farmers for Free Trade issued a  lengthy statement  that begins with , "Signing USMCA is a significant win for American farmers, but it's a win that comes with a big caveat."

Government Relations Report
Some 30 days after the election, the counting of ballots will finally conclude tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 7) when county elections officials report their final results to the secretary of state. There are still 58,000  unprocessed ballots , but many of those may be rejected for a variety of reasons. Consequently, at this point, the results seem pretty clear.

Unfortunately, many elected leaders who have been very supportive of growers over the years lost their re-election bids. Leaders such as  Rep. David Valadao lost by less than two votes per precinct. Democrats gained seven seats in California's congressional delegation (now 46 Democrats and seven Republicans), five seats in the state Assembly (now 60 Democrats and 20 Republicans) and three seats in the state Senate (now 29 Democrats and 11 Republicans). 

Proposition 3, the $8.9 billion water bond, failed on election day by a 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent margin. However, after counting ballots during the last 30 days, with 12 million votes cast, the bond appears to have lost by only about 155,000 votes (six votes per precinct).  

California has possibly the lengthiest process in the nation for counting ballots and the  secretary of state has until Dec. 14 to certify the results of the election. With some of these very close races, we are reminded that every vote counts, and every vote must be counted.

Tom Steyer is the billionaire founder and president of NextGen America. He has contributed heavily to Democrats running for office and has called for the impeachment of President Trump. He has also been rumored to be running for president himself. 
For the last two years, Steyer has been very outspoken about drinking water. He has supported legislation that would tax fertilizer and water to fund the cleanup of drinking water. Because those efforts required a two-thirds vote of the California Legislature, lawmakers tried to sweeten the pot by including regulatory relief for growers. Nonetheless, in an election year, that legislation failed.  
Now that the Legislature has a supermajority of Democrats in both houses, many legislative leaders seem less interested in providing the regulatory relief that ag needs. Additionally, Steyer is hinting about heading straight to the ballot with an initiative to address the drinking water problem. It's a high-profile issue that could be on the ballot at the same time as his candidacy for president.  
Steyer's message: "As many as 1 million residents -- predominantly in low-income communities of color -- are dealing with unsafe drinking water...These communities are thirsty for justice...Hollow sympathy without action or commitment is a betrayal of our common values and the families who have gone without safe drinking water for far too long."
If Steyer runs for president, expect this message to be part of his stump speech. 

-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995 

PD/GWSS Board Approves Additional Funding for Research to Test Vines
Reported by Ted Rieger in Wine Business:  On Nov. 29, the PD/GWSS Board approved $38,617 in funding to continue research on the testing of grapevines designed to block vector transmission of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf), the bacterium that colonizes plant and insect hosts and causes PD in grapevines. The research is being led by principal investigator Dr. Rodrigo Almeida of the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

Fetzer Vineyards, Napa Valley Vintners Honored with Prestigious Environmental Award
Fetzer Vineyards (CAWG member) and Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) were among the 10 recipients of the 2018 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), the state's highest environmental honor. Fetzer was recognized for waste reduction, recycling and composting programs that divert more than 98 percent of waste going to landfills and incineration, demonstrating continued leadership towards a zero-waste economy.  NVV was selected for a rigorous, comprehensive, third-party certification program that is helping to ensure that Napa Valley wineries are operating as sustainably as possible.
CAWG Member Employees Make Top Wine Industry Leaders List
Congratulations to the CAWG member employees who were recognized in Wine Business Monthly's  "Top Leaders in the Wine Industry 2018" list. It showcases influential leaders who are shaping the industry today.  Categories include general, mergers and acquisitions, mechanization, and distribution disrupters. 
CAWG-affiliated honorees include Barbara Banke, Jackson Family Wines; Ernest J. Gallo, Joseph Gallo, Roger Nabedian and Nick Dokoozlian, E. & J. Gallo Winery; Alex Ryan and Carol Reber, Duckhorn; Nat DiBuduo, formerly with Allied Grape Growers; Towle Merrit, Walsh Vineyard Management; Rodney Schatz, Peltier Winery & Vineyards; Andy Beckstoffer, Beckstoffer Vineyards; Chris Indelicato, Delicato Family Vineyards; Bill Newlands, Constellation Brands; Heidi Scheid, Scheid Vineyards; John DeLuca, formerly with Wine Institute; Paul Draper, formerly with Ridge Vineyards; Jerry Lohr, J. Lohr Wines;  Jeff Manashe, Demeter GroupJean Henin, PellencSteve McIntyre, Monterey Pacific; Gordon Burns, ETS LaboratoriesJohn Hinman, Hinman & Carmichael, LLP; Jeff O'Neill, O'Neill Vintners & DistillersDan Petroski, Larkmead Cellars; and Frank Farella, Farella Braun + Martel.

Winegrapes No. 1 in Sacramento County
Winegrapes remained the top crop in Sacramento County last year, according to the 2017 crop report released last month. Winegrape acreage was up, but yield and price were down compared to 2016. Winegrapes had a total value of $170.2 million, a decrease of 7.6 percent or $14 million from 2016. Harvested acres increased to 35,293, about 1,400 acres more than 2016. Production was 275,285 tons and $618 per ton. 

Select Committees on Wine Hearing Available Online
Several members of the  Senate Select Committee on California's Wine Industry and the Assembly Select Committee on Wine held a hearing on Nov. 29 in San Diego. A video of the two-hour hearing has been posted online (it may take a few minutes to load).

"California's Water" - New Report Summarizes 13 Pressing Water Management Issues
With the release of a new publication, the Public Policy Institute of California reports, "An extensive storage system plays a critical role in the state's water management. This brief describes a number of ways to improve the management of reservoirs and groundwater basins to better prepare for droughts and manage floods. It is part of a briefing kit that summarizes 13 of the state's most pressing water management issues."

State Water Project Allocation Set at 10 Percent 
The Department of Water Resources (DWR)  announced an initial water allocation of 10 percent for State Water Project contractors for the 2019 calendar year. The allocation will likely change depending on rain and snowfall amounts this winter.  Dec. 1 allocations in the past five years were 15 percent for 2018, 20 percent for 2017, 10 percent for 2016 and 2015, and 5 percent for 2014 (due to the record drought). 

SAVE THE DATE!  CAWG / Lodi District Grape Growers Joint Meeting
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Join CAWG and the Lodi District Grape Growers for a joint meeting on winegrape grower contracts and enforcement, plus learn about the role of the California Winegrape Inspection Advisory Board. Speakers include Dale Stern of Downey Brand, CDFA Market Enforcement Branch and John Gilstrap, California Winegrape Inspection Advisory Board.
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 17
8:30 a.m. -- Registration, coffee and pastries
9:00 a.m. -- Meeting
WHERE: Lodi Grape Festival - Burgundy Hall 413 E. Lockeford Street, Lodi
RSVP: Natalie Collins  at  or (916) 379-8995

It's Time to Renew Your CAWG Membership 
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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 November with detailed information on your ability to renew online. The CAWG membership year is Dec. 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2019. 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

Innovative Master Distiller to Deliver Keynote Luncheon Speech 
Lance Winters , master distiller at St. George Spirits, will deliver the keynote address at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium on Tuesday, Jan. 29. "The distilled beverage sector is heavily steeped in tradition, even more than in our own industry, and sometimes, breaking with tradition can lead to successes. That's one of the reasons the Unified managing committee chose Lance to deliver this year's address," said Tom Collins, chair of the Unified Program Development Committee. "Those attending the luncheon will hear a unique perspective on distillation and his enthusiasm for the creativity he's known for."

Spread the Word! CAWG Foundation Now Accepting 2019 Scholarship Applications 
The CAWG Foundation will award three four-year scholarships ($8,000 each) to students planning to attend a campus in the University of California or California State University system, and three two-year scholarships ($2,000 each) to students planning to attend a California community college. The Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a Central Coast student enrolled or enrolling at Allan Hancock College or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to study enology or viticulture. 
Scholarships are awarded to high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower. The application deadline is March 8, 2019. Please share the information and link with your employees. 

Lodi Vineyard Mechanization Showcase   

Hosted by the Lodi Winegrape Commission. Growers will learn the latest innovations from major mechanization equipment companies. Presentations only - no equipment. 

WHEN: Dec. 11 / 7:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. / lunch included
WHERE : Burgundy Hall, Grape Festival Grounds, 413 E Lockeford St., Lodi
COST : Free, all are welcome
CONTACT: Stephanie Bolton at
RSVP : Christina at the Lodi Winegrape Commission at 209-367-4727 or .

Maintaining Rural Roads: Workshop for Equipment Operators   

Learn how to maintain rural roads to reduce annual maintenance costs and prevent erosion. 

WHEN:  Dec. 7 / 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
WHERE:  Private vineyard in southern Sonoma (address to be attendees)