February 18, 2021
COVID-19 Relief Package
Gov. Newsom and legislative leaders this week announced an agreement on a relief package for Californians affected by the pandemic. The package includes the following: 
  • Direct relief to individuals and families ($600 per person to 5.7 million low income Californians). 
  • Relief for small businesses (an additional $1.5 billion in grants to small businesses). 
  • Fee waivers for licensees (including ABC licenses for winemakers and tasting rooms). 
  • Additional aid for individuals and families (including $24 million for Housing for the Harvest). 
“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and millions of Californians continue to feel the impact on their wallets and bottom lines. Businesses are struggling. People are having a hard time making ends meet,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said. “We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.” 

The package of legislation is expected to be approved by the California Legislature and signed into law before the end of the week. 

COVID-19 Business Interruption Legislation

On March 4, 2020, Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency related to COVID-19. Soon thereafter, Assemblymember James Ramos (D-Highland) sought legislative relief for businesses suffering financial hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.   
This week, Ramos continued his effort by introducing AB 743 to protect the solvency of businesses that were forced to close or limit operations due to the pandemic. The bill provides this financial relief by making it easier for businesses to successfully file insurance claims for losses related to COVID-19 shutdowns. 
Specifically, AB 743 would create a rebuttable presumption that the business interruption was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and occurred during the state of emergency declared by the governor. This bill is retroactive as it would apply to all business interruption insurance policies that were in effect on and after March 4, 2020. 
AB 743 is expected to be heard in its first state Assembly committee in the next few weeks.  

Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / (916) 204-0485
Sen. McGuire to Host Virtual Roundtable on Reopening Tourism/Hospitality Sector
ABOUT: The tourism and hospitality industry – including wine tasting rooms – has taken a huge hit due to the pandemic. State Sen. Mike McGuire’s (D-Healdsburg) interactive roundtable will discuss the impacts and focus on safely reopening the industry and getting hundreds of thousands of workers back to work. Industry participation is strongly encouraged to share solutions for recovery. This roundtable follows the introduction of McGuire’s bill to get the tourism industry back to work.

WHEN: Feb. 24 / 4-5 p.m.

>SB 285 (McGuire’s California Tourism Recovery Act)
CA Republican Congressional Delegation Wants Answers on State's Vaccine Plan
Eleven congressional Republicans from California this week sent a letter to Gov. Newsom to express “serious concerns regarding the State of California’s slow, opaque decision-making process, and ever-changing approach to distributing COVID vaccines, which has been met with confusion and frustration by our constituents, local public health officials and frontline health care providers.” Signing on to the letter which requests answers and immediate actions were Reps. Young Kim, Kevin McCarthy, David Valadao, Darrell Issa, Michelle Steel, Mike Garcia, Doug LaMalfa, Devin Nunes, Tom McClintock, Ken Calvert and Jay Obernolte.
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.
COVID-19 Resources and Articles

Widespread (purple) = 52
Substantial (red) = 3
Moderate (orange) = 3
Minimal (yellow) = 0



California Farm Labor Contractors Association
  • Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Regulation Update: Feb. 23
  • COVID-19 Vaccines & Testing for Farmworkers: Feb. 16 (video)
  • Paycheck Protection Program Round Two Update: Jan. 19
Press release, Feb. 17
Desert Sun, Feb. 17
Feb. 11

Federal Bill to Improve H-2A Program Introduced
The Better Agriculture Resources Now (BARN) Act, which aims to reform and strengthen the H-2A program for nonimmigrant ag workers, was introduced this week by Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), a member of the House Ag Committee. Among other provisions, the bill would transfer responsibility of H-2A certification from the U.S. Department of Labor to USDA to improve efficiency in the processing of requests. “H-2A certification must be managed by an agency with a deep understanding of the food supply chain, like USDA,” Allen said. He introduced similar legislation in the 114th, 115th and 116th congressional sessions.

Valadao Introduces Legislation to Bring More Water to the Valley

Earlier this month, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) introduced the Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements (RENEW WIIN) Act “to provide access to safe, clean and reliable water for our communities.” The legislation would extend the authorities under the WIIN Act of 2016 providing operational flexibility, drought relief, water storage and other benefits. Several California water representatives applauded the legislation (see press release).
Providing the very best California crop insurance services.
USDA Leadership Update
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on Tom Vilsack’s nomination for secretary of agriculture on Feb. 23.

Meanwhile, a coalition of nearly 60 food and groups – including WineAmerica, California Farm Bureau Federation and American Farm Bureau Federation – recently wrote a letter to Senate Ag Committee leaders urging the prompt approval of Jewel Bronaugh for deputy secretary of agriculture. The letter cites her extensive experience in agriculture, as a Cooperative Extension specialist, USDA-FSA executive director and Virginia Department of Agriculture commissioner. 
Podcast: Effects of Landscape Management on Vineyard Pest Control
The Vineyard Team’s Feb. 18 podcast features Daniel Paredes, postdoctoral fellow with the UC Davis Department of Wildlife Fish and Conservation Biology, who is studying how sustaining natural habitat around vineyards can increase biodiversity. Promotion of natural habitat impacts vineyards by promoting natural enemies and diminishing the pest population. 

CDFA Seeks Input on Climate Smart Ag
ABOUT: To hear from members of the ag industry and public on farmer- and rancher-led climate change solutions.

WHEN: Feb. 23 / 2 p.m. and Feb. 26 / 9 a.m.
Webinar on Proposed Reg Fee Increase
ABOUT: To share information, answer questions and receive feedback from registrants and other stakeholders on DPR's proposal to increase registration fees to a level that supports the current and future business functions of the pesticide registration program.
WHEN: March 17 / 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. PDT

February issue
February issue
The two full-length sessions are now free due to strong interest and positive feedback.
Press release, Feb. 18

Wine Enthusiast, Feb. 18

CAWG board member Jeff Bitter is quoted extensively.
Ag Alert, Feb. 17
Scientists have long known infected grapevines are more likely to recover in colder climates. Now they worry milder winters will worsen the impact of the disease.
Inside Climate News, Feb. 17
CAWG members quoted.
Good Fruit Grower, Feb. 16
Lodi Wine Growers, Feb. 16

Lodi Wine Growers, Feb. 15
Biden’s plan for American agriculture is politically risky and scientifically debatable. It also may be his best chance to succeed where Obama failed.
Modern Farmer, Feb. 15



21 / CAWG Advocacy Day - virtual

22 / CAWG PAC Wine Tasting Event - virtual