Your source for CAWG and industry news
March 30 , 2017

April 25
CAWG Webinar: Joint Liability-Growers and Farm Labor Contractors

April 26-27
National Grape & Wine Policy Conference, Washington, D.C.

May 17-18
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sacramento

July 17
CAWG PAC Golf Tournament, Napa

July 17
CAWG Awards of Excellence Program and Dinner, Napa

July 18
CAWG Summer Conference, Napa

July 19
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Napa

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EPA Denies Petition to Ban Chlorpyrifos

Farmers can continue using chlorpyrifos (Lorsban), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on March 29 signed an order denying a petition - filed a decade ago by environmental groups - that would have banned chlorpyrifos for agricultural use. "We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment," Pruitt said. "By reversing the previous administration's steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making - rather than predetermined results." EPA had been under a court under to make a final decision on the petition by March 31. USDA, the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural groups praised EPA's ruling, while environmental groups criticized it.

Dodd, McGuire to Chair Senate Select Committee on Wine

Sens. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) have been appointed co-chairs on the Senate Select Committee on California's Wine Industry, a bipartisan group of senators who oversee issues affecting California's wine industry. In a joint press release McGuire said , " There is a lot happening with California wine and I couldn't be more excited to join with Sen. Dodd and co-chair this important committee in the years to come. We'll be working together and focused on some of the biggest issues facing the thousands of growers and vintners in the coming months." Said Dodd, "We need to look at the challenges facing our wine industry and work to identify pragmatic solutions. The committee will review key issues, including innovation in environmental sustainability, farmworker housing and competitiveness in a global marketplace." Other committee members are Toni Atkins, Tom Berryhill, Anthony Cannella, Cathleen Galgiani, Steven Glazer, Ed Hernandez, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Bill Monning and Jeff Stone.

Government Relations Capitol Report

Last year, AB 1561 (C. Garcia) would have exempted feminine hygiene products from sales tax. Gov. Brown vetoed the bill, stating tax breaks "must be considered during budget deliberations so that all spending proposals are weighed against each other at the same time." His concern was that tax breaks need to be revenue neutral either by increasing funding elsewhere or by cutting costs. This week, AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher and C. Garcia) was amended to create a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products and children's and adult diapers. To back fill behind lost tax revenues, the authors would increase the distilled spirits excise tax. While holding infants at a Capitol press conference the authors stated, "This is a question of you value booze or do you value babies? Do you value liquor or do you value ladies?" However, when pressed, the authors acknowledged there is no nexus between the excise tax increase and the purpose of the bill. AB 479 requires a two-thirds vote of the state Legislature.
Gov. Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced a $5.2 billion annual road-funding package that includes a 125 percent increase in the diesel excise tax from 16 cents per gallon to 36 cents per gallon. The Legislature is planning to act on this by April 6. Its future is uncertain though, as the tax increase requires a two-thirds vote of the state Legislature. 

-Michael Miiller /

California Agriculture Mission to Australia: Wines and Climate Adaptation

A California agricultural delegation, including CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, recently traveled to Australia to learn more about the country's "climate smart" policies and practices. One of the stops was at Casella Family Brands - owner of Yellow Tail, Peter Lehmann and other wines - for a tour with the irrigation, energy and wastewater treatment team. According to a blog post, the winery is a leader in technology in the vineyards and processing facility.   

Down to Earth Month Celebrates California 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. Created by Wine Institute, the sixth annual event raises awareness about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance's Sustainable Winegrowing Program.


Put simply, the American wine industry is likely to be hit one way or another if these proposed cuts become a reality.
Forbes, March 29

Growers often don't realize how severely red blotch impacts the vineyard's bottom line.
Growing Produce, March 28
The UFW failed to pay two dozen of its organizers for some of the hours they worked, including overtime and meal periods, for more than four years, a Monterey Superior Court judge ruled Monday. The union will have to pay more than $800,000 in back pay to these organizers. 
Los Angeles Times, March 28
If one of the FBI's priorities is still to "combat public corruption at all levels," then it may want to look into California's Agricultural Labor Relations Board.
Forbes, March 26 

Trump administration arrests of immigrant laborers-including a farmworker activist-in western New York have alarmed the state's agriculture industry.
Crains's New York Business, March 24

Survey: Flood Improvements Important

The latest statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) highlights several federal and state issues, including a section on the state water supply (page 17). According to the survey, 61 percent of Californians said it is very important and 27 percent said somewhat important for the state to be spending more money on water and flood management infrastructure for their region of California. In response to a question about the building of Delta tunnels, 51 percent said it is very important and 26 percent said somewhat important. There were differences in opinion between Los Angeles and Central Valley respondents. 

Large Snowpack Means High Water in Rivers Through Spring

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced electronic readings from 95 stations scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada. The readings show an average statewide snow water equivalent (SWE) of 45.8, or 164 percent of the March 30 historical average (27.9 inches). DWR also conducted its fourth manual snow survey off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe and found a SWE of 46.1 inches, or 183 percent of the late March/early April long-term average at that station. 

Water Articles and Resources

Los Angeles Times, March 28
Meet UC Davis' Helen Dahlke, a water banker. Her floods aim to find out if humans can target and replenish drought-depleted aquifers.
Popular Science, March 23


Millions Available to California Farmers to Improve Air Quality

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has $19 million available for eligible farmers to implement conservation practices that benefit air quality. Through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to farmers for addressing their natural resource concerns, including the air quality concerns from their farming operations. EQIP payments are available to adopt no-till or reduced-till conservation tillage practices, chip debris from orchard or vineyard removals, stabilize unpaved roads to limit dust, replace old diesel-powered farm equipment and more. Farmers have until May 26 to apply for the funding.

CAWG Webinar: Joint Liability - Growers and Farm Labor Contractors

CAWG logo no words
APRIL 25 / 10-11 A.M.

For generations, growers have used farm labor contractors (FLCs) to supply workers when needed for various vineyard tasks. While the FLC has primary employer responsibilities, various legal decisions and legislation - such as AB 1897 - now make the grower jointly liable for issues such as unpaid wages, H-2A visa programs, MSPA and worker transportation, and worker safety and workers compensation insurance. It is increasingly critical for growers to have an understanding of the liability shared, and the need to evaluate and monitor their FLCs on compliance issues. The webinar is presented by Lupe Sandoval, managing director of the California Farm Labor Contractor Association.  

Learn more about:  
* Understanding joint liability  
* Factors that increase the potential for joint liability claims  
* Legal requirements and best practices to manage joint liability  
* Resources to managing joint liability  

Please note:  Any vineyard management company that provides workers to a grower or other entity, is, by law, a farm labor contractor and must be licensed by the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement.

CAWG Membership Directory: Make Sure Dues are Current by March 31

Make sure your CAWG dues are current by March 31 in order to be listed in the 2017 membership directory. This annual publication is a great way to be seen in the winegrape industry. The membership directory is a valuable communications tool with a long shelf life. It features grower member listings, associate member listings and additional valuable informational content. If you have membership questions, call CAWG Manager of Member Relations Natalie Collins at 916-379-8995.

Interview with CAWG Director of  Government Relations Michael Miiller

In an interview with California AgNet, CAWG Director of Government Relations Michael Miiller shares his extensive legislative background, goals to educate legislators about the winegrape industry and legislation. The interview took place during the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium and was posted on YouTube in mid-March. If you have not yet met Michael, this can serve as a video introduction!


California Agriculture: Water, Labor and Immigration Conference

WHEN: April 14 / 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WHERE:  Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom , King Hall, UC Davis, One Shields Ave.

This free conference examines current issues in agriculture and farm labor. Farm labor and farm labor law have changed over the past four decades.
There are fewer newcomers to the farm workforce, prompting farm employers to take steps to satisfy current workers, stretch them with mechanical aids and substitute machines for hand workers, and supplement with H-2A guest workers.

Current Issues in Harvest Logistics

WHEN: April 20 / 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: UC Davis Conference Center (and vineyard)
Hosted by Dr. Kaan Kurtural, this seminar will focus on current research in vineyard mechanization and precision management. Highlights: terrain and water status modeling, management zone delineation in vineyards, canopy and water stress modeling, crop estimation sensing, kinetics of sugar and flavonoid accumulation in vineyards, and decision making process for harvest logistics. Cost is $250.

2017 National Grape & Wine Policy Conference

Voice Your Value: Positioning the Wine Industry to a New Administration

The 2017 National Grape & Wine Policy Conference is slated for April 26-27 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The conference will feature expert speakers and an evening congressional reception. Participants will also visit with legislators and staff on Capitol Hill.