Your source for CAWG and industry news
 March 29, 2018
CALENDAR

April 4
CAWG Winegrape Day in the Capitol, Sacramento

April 4
CAWG Foundation Wine Reception, Sacramento

April 5
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

May 31
CAWG PAC Reception, Napa

July 16
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Napa

July 17
CAWG Summer Conference, Napa

July 17
CAWG Awards of Excellence Program and Dinner, Napa

July 18
CAWG PAC Golf Tournament, Napa

 
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THE FRONT PAGE 
CAWG Federal Update on FDA Produce Safety Rule and H-2C Program
 
CAWG SECURES WINEGRAPE EXEMPTION FROM FDA PRODUCE SAFETY RULE
Since the FDA first contemplated new food safety regulations for produce, CAWG has urged the agency to exempt winegrapes from the Produce Safety Rule on the basis these grapes are rarely consumed raw. A variety of commodities -- including asparagus, figs, potatoes and pumpkins -- are exempt from regulation because FDA determined these commodities were rarely consumed raw. However, when FDA published the rule in November 2015, the agency stated it lacked sufficient evidence, based on federal dietary surveys, to grant the exemption for winegrapes. 
 
CAWG worked with the offices of Reps. David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel) to include legislative language in the most recently passed federal omnibus spending bill prohibiting FDA from using appropriated federal funds to regulate "...grape varietals that are grown, harvested and used solely for wine and further processing." CAWG will work with FDA and CDFA to identify methods for determining which grape varietals qualify for an exemption. The exemption will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2018 and CAWG is working to continue the exemption through the remainder of the 2018 harvest and into subsequent years.
 
CAWG URGES PASSAGE OF AG GUESTWORKER BILL IN HOUSE
This week, CAWG President John Aguirre sent a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, supporting passage of H.R. 4760, an immigration bill that contains an agricultural guestworker program. The new H-2C guestworker program is intended to replace the existing H-2A guestworker program, which many growers have found cumbersome and expensive to use and has fallen far short of satisfying the labor needs of California agriculture. If passed, H.R. 4760 would allow current immigrant farmworkers in the U.S. to participate in the new H-2C program as guestworkers, with the opportunity to obtain a 3-year work visa, followed by renewable 2-year visas. 
 
In an effort to generate agricultural support for H.R. 4760, Goodlatte and Judiciary Committee staff offered a series of concessions intended to improve the H-2C program. After discussions between congressional staff and the CAWG Federal Issues Committee, CAWG joined groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the California Strawberry Commission to urge passage of H.R. 4760, while reserving the right to seek additional improvements in the bill.
 


CAWG Issues Statement on Tariffs
 
CAWG logo no words
Following the news of China's plan to impose 15 percent tariffs on U.S. exports of wine and other products, CAWG President John Aguirre issued the statement below on March 23. CAWG will continue to monitor the situation and keep members apprised of developments.
 
"President Trump's decision to address United States trade issues by use of threats and increased tariffs risks undoing decades of work and investment to grow California wine exports. Last year, California wine exports totaled $1.28 billion, with China and Hong Kong accounting for nearly $145 million of that total.  I urge President Trump to return our nation to a strategy of opening markets and resolving trade concerns through multilateral negotiations, like the Trans Pacific Partnership. The current path of tariffs and trade wars is sure to result in tremendous harm to California agriculture and future wine exports."
 
RELATED ARTICLES
 
CAWG member Nicholas Miller interviewed.
KEYT-TV, March 28
 
CAWG statement included. Representatives from two Lodi wineries quoted.  
China Daily, March 28
 
John Aguirre quoted.
KQED, March 27
 
Statements from CAWG, Almond Board of California and U.S. Apple Association.
Growing Produce, March 23


Ag Coalition Launches "Retaliation Hurts Rural Families" Initiative
 
Americans for Farmers & Families -- a coalition of more than 100 food and agriculture stakeholders focused on preserving and modernizing NAFTA
- this week launched an initiative to protect American agriculture from retaliatory tariffs. The coalition was created in January and aims to communicate with President Trump and congressional leaders about the importance of NAFTA to the agricultural industry. The website features dozens of press releases, as well as other resources and a list of coalition members.


Government Relations Capitol Report
 
FOX NEWS AND CALIFORNIA LABOR LAW
In 2015, Gov. Brown vetoed AB 465 which would have banned mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts. It was vetoed because AB 465 was pre-empted by federal law.
 
Picking up the baton, AB 3080 (Gonzalez Fletcher) was substantially amended last week and now would prohibit mandatory arbitration for disputes involving alleged violations of labor law. Gonzalez Fletcher is hoping her new bill becomes law by touting that it is necessary because of the #MeToo movement.  
 
Supporters of AB 3080 point to the story of Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News anchor who said she was harassed by her former boss, Roger Ailes. Supporters claim, "It is time for California to take bold action to protect workers from being forced to waive enforcement of harassment."
 
However, AB 3080 goes far beyond harassment cases and provides for no mandatory arbitration of simple wage and hour claims, pushes all cases into an underfunded and overcrowded civil court process, and prevents confidential settlement agreements even if the worker wants it.  
 
Like AB 465, this bill is also pre-empted by federal law and deserves to fail.

-- Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995


2018 Green Medal Award Winners Announced
 
Congratulations to the recipients of the fourth annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards, to be presented at an April 11 ceremony at the state Capitol. Awardees were Bogle Vineyards (Leader Award), St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery (Environment Award), KG Vineyard Management (Community Award) and Cakebread Cellars (Business Award). The awards recognize California vineyards and/or wineries that excel in sustainability. CAWG is one of several wine industry organizations that presents the awards. Eight wine and sustainability experts served as judges.
 


California to Receive Nearly $15 Million from USDA for Pest Projects
 
USDA is allocating $14.8 million to California from section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill to strengthen the nation's infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification and threat mitigation, and to safeguard the nursery production system. The funds will support projects focused on various plant health and pest mitigation activities, including $4.3 million to survey for harmful exotic fruit fly populations and $1.8 million to support National Clean Plant Network foundation plant stocks for grapes and other crops.
 
 
 

Celebrate Down to Earth Month and Sustainable Winegrowing
 
In April, wineries throughout the state will host sustainability-focused events, activities and seminars as part of California Wines Down to Earth Month. The seventh annual event raises awareness about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance's Sustainable Winegrowing Program.
 
 


INDUSTRY ARTICLES

At a San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors meeting, vintners, attorneys and residents spent 2 ½ hours discussing land use as it pertains to the wine industry and the county wine ordinance.
Stockton Record, March 25

New Certified Sustainable logo debuts on wine label.
Wine Institute/CSWA

Bulk market update and market opportunities.
Turrentine Brokerage


WATER & WEATHER
UCANR: Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
 
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources has published a 95-page special issue of California Agriculture highlighting the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Topics include farmer perspectives on SGMA, on-farm  groundwater recharge, groundwater-surface water interactions and much more .
 
 

Water Allocation Update - Central Valley Project
 
The Bureau of Reclamation last week gave agricultural water service contractors north of the Delta (Trinity, Shasta, Sacramento River, American River and Delta divisions of the CVP) an initial water allocation of 20 percent. In February's initial CVP allocation, the agency was unable to provide an allocation to these contractors due to extremely low snowpack and associated runoff forecasts, and other factors. Friant Division Class 1 water allocation has been increased to 60 percent, up from the 30 percent initial allocation. 

Articles and Resources 

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has outlined ways in which it could finance construction of the tunnels.
Los Angeles Times, March 28
 



UNIVERSITIES
News From Foundation Plant Services - New Assays
 
From Foundation Plant Services (FPS): 
The long-distance spread of grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3  (GLRaV-3), caused by the movement of infected vines, can be controlled effectively if GLRaV-3 is accurately identified and virus-tested clean stock is made available to growers. In turn, accurate GLRaV-3 identification and the production of a large amount of tested planting stock require a high throughput testing method that is sensitive and specific for GLRaV-3. FPS has met the need for reliably detecting GLRaV-3 in large sample numbers by focusing on the development of reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assays.
 


CAWG EVENTS & PROGRAMS
CAWG on the Road for Lodi Grower Education Meeting
 
About 50 growers attended today's CAWG-Lodi District Grape Growers Association meeting to hear about the new tax laws, as well as state and federal updates. Thank you to all who joined us!