Your source for CAWG and industry news
 February 1, 2018

February 21-22
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Temecula 

April 4
CAWG Winegrape Day in the Capitol, Sacramento

April 4
CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, Sacramento

April 5
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

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Study: Grapevines Can Survive with Less Water
Results from a 10-year study focusing on vineyards in Napa and Bordeaux found that grapevines resist drought better than assumed. The study was published this week in the journal Science Advances.
Abstract: Grapevines are crops of global economic importance that will face increasing drought stress because many varieties are described as highly sensitive to hydraulic failure as frequency and intensity of summer drought increase. We developed and used novel approaches to define water stress thresholds for preventing hydraulic failure, which were compared to the drought stress experienced over a decade in Napa and Bordeaux. We identified the physiological thresholds for drought-induced mortality in stems and leaves and found small intervarietal differences. Long-term observations in Napa and Bordeaux revealed that grapevines never reach their lethal water-potential thresholds under seasonal droughts, owing to a vulnerability segmentation promoting petiole embolism and leaf mortality. Our findings will aid farmers in reducing water use without risking grapevine hydraulic integrity.
>ARTICLE: Wine lovers: Relax, study suggests Calif. grapevines can weather searing drought (KQED/PBS)

Gov. Brown Pushes for 5 Million Zero-Emission Vehicles
Gov. Jerry Brown on Jan. 26 signed an executive order that "aims to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California." Brown issued a new goal of at least 5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2030 - a massive increase from 350,000 existing today and 25,000 in 2012. The $2.5 billion initiative would help bring 250,000 electric vehicle charging stations and 200 hydrogen fueling stations by 2025.  The governor also detailed the new plan for investing $1.25 billion in cap-and-trade auction proceeds to reduce carbon pollution and improve public health and the environment.

Government Relations Capitol Report
Today, as the deadline passed for certain bills to be approved in the California Assembly, a terrible bill sponsored by the trial lawyers died. AB 889 (Stone) would have prohibited settlement agreements and required trade secrets to be made public where there is a claim of potential product liability.
Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) said the bill was needed because, "Secrecy in not appropriate when it hides evidence of a known and ongoing danger to public health and safety." However, Stone could not find one example of this alleged danger in California.
CAWG opposed AB 889 because a recent string of court cases claiming a risk to public health because of the minute presence of naturally occurring arsenic in wine. These cases were preceded by orchestrated media hype intended to force a settlement. Fortunately, the California Supreme Court dismissed the cases as the trial lawyers had no facts to support their claims.
In cases like these, AB 889 would have given the trial lawyers a leg up in pushing for a settlement by falsely claiming there was risk of harm to public health. Ultimately, AB 889 would have made it more difficult to protect the wine industry's reputation against future bogus claims.
-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995

Silicon Valley Bank Posts 2018 State of the Industry Videocast
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) recently hosted a live videocast focused on wine industry trends and predictions for 2018. A panel discussion was led by Rob McMillan, executive vice president and founder of SVB's wine division, and featured industry experts. The panelists discussed how generational changes are impacting wine demand, changing consumer preference, trends in winery sales to restaurants, the relationship between increases in wine region tourism and tasting room visitation, and challenges and opportunities in e-commerce. The annual SVB Wine Report is scheduled to be published on Feb. 13.

CAWG Members Elected to National Grape & Wine Initiative 
Tony Stephen, chief planning officer at Scheid Family Wines (CAWG member), was elected chairman of the National Grape & Wine Initiative (NGWI) at its recent annual meeting. Stephen has served on the NGWI board for seven years representing the American Vineyard Foundation. Other CAWG members who were re-elected as officers: Tom Smith, Nick Dokoozlian and Keith Striegler, E&J Gallo Winery; Marshall Miller, Thornhill Properties; and Jason Smith, Paraiso Vineyards.


Census of Agriculture Response Deadline is Feb. 5
Farmers have until Feb. 5 to respond online or via mail to complete the census. According to CDFA, just 21.75 percent of California producers have responded as of Jan. 29. After the Feb. 5 deadline, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service will begin following up with mailings, e-mails, phone calls and personal appointments. To avoid these additional contacts, farmers are asked to complete their census by the deadline. Census data are often relied on when developing the farm bill and other farm policy, and when making decisions about disaster relief, community planning, technology development and more.



"If [the board] believed in me, it was up to me to step up and do what I know how to do best - collaborate, market, push on innovation and strategy and...share the Sonoma County farming story."
Forbes, Jan. 30
An initiative on the June 5 ballot aims to protect watershed and oak woodlands by placing restrictions on the number of trees cut down. The Napa Valley Vintners board voted to oppose the initiative.
North Bay Business Journal, Jan. 29
Numerous questions have arisen about what activities are permissible on or in premises licensed by the ABC to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages, so ABC has issued an industry advisory to offer guidance.
Jan. 18
Ag Alert/Daily Democrat, Jan. 19

Insurers have received nearly 45,000 insurance claims totaling nearly $12 billion in losses from last fall's wildfires that damaged and destroyed more than 32,000 homes, 4,300 businesses, more than 8,200 vehicles, watercraft, farm vehicles and other equipment.
California Department of Insurance, Jan. 31

Legislators held a special hearing to tackle a heated topic: how to oversee utilities to prevent future wildfire catastrophes.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Jan. 26

EPA Delays WOTUS Rule Until 2020
The U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have issued a final rule to delay the implementation of the waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. "EPA is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America's farmers and ranchers," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt . "The 2015 WOTUS rule...will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation." 

The agencies' action follows  last week's Supreme Court ruling that challenges to WOTUS must be filed in federal district court, not federal appeals court. EPA stated, " Given uncertainty about litigation in multiple district courts over the 2015 WOTUS Rule, this action provides much needed certainty and clarity to the regulated community during the ongoing regulatory process."

State Water Project Allocation Increases Slightly
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has increased its estimate of this year's State Water Project (SWP) supply to 20 percent of requests, up from 15 percent in December. The agency may increase allocations further with more rain and snow. SWP allocations in recent years have fluctuated - 60 percent in 2017 (due to atmospheric river storms) and as low as 5 percent in 2014.

Second Snow Survey of 2018: 'Anemic Snowpack'
The snowpack is still far below average, based on today's results from the Department of Water Resources' (DWR) second manual snow survey in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. The survey revealed a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 2.6 inches, or 14 percent of the early February average at that site. Readings from electronic sensors at 103 stations throughout the Sierra Nevada indicate that statewide, the snowpack's SWE is 4.9, or 27 percent of the Feb. 1 average.

Pesticide Safety Instructor Training Workshops: Update Your Knowledge of Changing Regulations
The UCIPM program and AgSafe are offering pesticide safety instructor training workshops in February, March and April in nine cities. The all-day workshops are for ag supervisors, growers, farm labor contractors, safety managers and safety trainers.  The course meets the requirements established by the revised Worker Protection Standard, which is mandated by EPA and DPR. Participants who complete the training will be qualified to train fieldworkers and pesticide handlers under these revised regulations. Cost is $200 per person.

Request for Auction Items for CAWG Foundation Wine Reception on April 4 
Numerous items are needed for the silent auction at this year's CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, which serves as the main annual fundraiser for the foundation's scholarship fund. Items can be wine, gift baskets, vacation home trips, weekend getaways, autographed memorabilia, concert tickets, sporting event tickets and more.  If you would like to donate items, please contact Carolee Williams at 916-379-8995 or  Thank you!

CAWG District Wine Reception and Dinner 
Join Us in Temecula - "The Heart of Southern California Wine Country"
Please join the CAWG board of directors for an evening of wine, food and networking in Temecula! This is an excellent opportunity to share and discuss the challenges and successes of the Temecula winegrape growing region while getting to know CAWG board members and staff.

WHEN: Feb. 21 / 6 pm.
WHERE: Ponte Vineyard Inn, Temecula
COST: $89/person

UC Davis Current Wine and Winegrape Research
Hear and discuss the latest research relating to winegrapes and enology from highly-regarded researchers.

WHEN: Feb. 21, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
WHERE: UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane, Davis
COST: $49 (includes lunch)

UCCE 66th Annual Lodi Grape Day
Event features luncheon speech by retiring farm advisor Paul Verdegaal.
WHEN: Feb. 6, 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (retirement gathering 1:30-3:30 p.m.)
WHERE: 125 South Hutchins Street, Lodi

UCCE Grape Day - Sonoma County

WHEN: Feb. 8, 7-11:30 a.m.
WHERE: Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.
COST: $42 (includes breakfast)