Your source for CAWG and industry news
April 6 , 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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Government Relations Capitol Report: 
Transportation Funding Bill Up for Vote Today

For the vast majority of bills that reach the floor of the Senate or Assembly, the outcome is predictable. It is the rare few where it is unknown whether the legislation will pass or fail. Senate Bill 1 (Beall) is such a bill. SB 1 is Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed transportation funding package, which would generate $5 billion annually by substantially increasing fuel and vehicle taxes. Republicans and moderate Democrats believe the bill is bad for business as it represents one of the largest tax increases in history. Highway funding should rely on existing revenues. Rural Democrats are concerned that rural highways and roads will not receive adequate funding. Some liberal Democrats are concerned for environmental justice reasons and believe the bill is bad for air quality. The bill requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature and is up for a vote this afternoon. For the reasons above, the fate of SB 1 is very uncertain.  CAWG will email an update on Friday.

-Michael Miiller /

2017 California Green Medal Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the recipients of the third annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards, to be presented at an April 19 luncheon in Sacramento. Awardees were Francis Ford Coppola Winery (Leader Award), Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery (Environment Award), St. Francis Winery & Vineyards (Community Award) and Monterey Pacific, Inc. (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. Judges included wine and sustainability experts.

Chlorpyrifos Fight Continues

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network, represented by Earthjustice, have asked a federal appeals court to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos. Last week EPA denied a petition to ban the pesticide. Filing a court motion with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the groups called on the court to enforce the previous court order and require EPA to make a decision on the proposed ban within 30 days. The groups argue that EPA cannot delay its decision on the ban any further because it has not presented any new scientific research that reverses their findings from last fall.
>SACRAMENTO BEE Environmental groups challenge Trump
>WESTERN FARM PRESS: DPR - No changes planned to chlorpyrifos rules after EPA decision

Trump Administration to Open NAFTA Talks

The Trump administration delivered a draft notice to Congress that it intends to open talks with Canada and Mexico on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The draft notice precedes a formal, written communication which would start a formal 90-day consultation period. The negotiation of international trade agreements is subject to formal procedures and any new deal on NAFTA would require Congressional approval. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the administration would like to begin talks in July with Canada and Mexico on a new NAFTA deal. USTR reports that since NAFTA went into effect in January 1994, U.S. manufacturing exports have increased 258 percent and the U.S. maintains a growing manufacturing trade surplus with Canada and Mexico. American exports of computer and electronic products, furniture, paper and fabricated metals have all more than tripled since NAFTA implementation. However, in the first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump stated "NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country." U.S. wine exports reached a record $1.62 billion last year. Wine Institute reports that Canada and Mexico accounted for $455 million of California wine exports in 2016. 

Justice Department Not Focusing on Non-Criminal Illegal Immigrants

According to a March 30 Washington Examiner article, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Department of Justice does not intend to go after illegal immigrants who have not committed crimes beyond illegally entering the U.S. "This is not where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is focusing its efforts," Sessions said in an interview on Fox News. In response, Western Growers Association (WGA) issued a statement that it was "encouraged" by Sessions' comments. " The attorney general's comments confirm what we in the agriculture industry have understood to be the administration's interior enforcement policy: ICE activities will be directed toward deporting felons, not farmworkers," said WGA President and CEO Tom Nassif. > WGA STATEMENT
CAWG hosted a webinar titled "ICE Raids and Employment Documentation" on March 22. The recording will be posted soon on CAWG's website. In addition, the feature story in the April issue of The Crush focuses on these topics.

House Agriculture Committee Examines Impacts of Tax Code on Farmers

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on April 5 about how the current tax code affects farmers and ranchers and how changes to it might affect them in the future. "Few business sectors in America are subject to as many unknowns as farming and ranching," said Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway (R-Texas). " With the upcoming potential for tax reform, it is important to highlight the unique challenges of the agricultural industry and explore opportunities within the tax code to better support a vibrant farm sector." 


Move over, tree nuts, and make way for premium winegrapes when it comes to rising land values. The California chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers released an annual report that analyzes the 2016 price of farmland in California and Nevada.
Ag Alert, April 5
The founder of Terroir Life, which owns or manages nearly a dozen wineries in California, New Zealand and South Africa, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Wine Spectator, April 3 

Joe Valente, vineyard and orchard manager for Kautz Farms, keeps orchards and vineyards growing despite quirky weather.
Capital Press, April 2
CalEPA's Office of Health Hazard Assessment announced that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is being added to California's Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer.
OEHHA, March 28

DWR Releases Draft Assumption & Estimate Report for Water Plan Update 2018

The Department of Water Resources is seeking comments for a draft report that presents key assumptions and estimates, data and data sources, and companion plans that will be considered for the preparation of the California Water Plan Update 2018. The public comment period is April 5 to June 6.

Water Articles and Resources

Final Call for Nominations! 2017 Awards of Excellence / Grower and Leader of the Year

Please take the time to submit a nomination for an exceptional industry colleague. Award nominations of CAWG members may be made by any individual or organization. Additional details and nomination forms are available here . Please return the completed forms by April 14 to or fax to 916-379-8999. 

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.

Labor Commissioner Updates FAQs on Paid Sick Leave

A frequently asked questions document from the Labor Commissioner's Office was recently updated to address the following new questions concerning the paid sick leave law (AB 1522):
  • If my employer already had a paid time off plan that employees could use for paid sick leave before the mandatory paid sick leave law went into effect in 2015, was my employer required to provide additional sick days in response to the new law?
  • If my employer is providing paid sick days through an existing (grandfathered) paid time off policy, does the new law change the rate of pay my employer is required to pay for days that I take off under the existing paid time off policy for reasons other than a paid sick day? 
  • Can my employer discipline me for taking a paid sick day or for using paid sick leave for part of a day to go to a doctor's appointment? 

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. 

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. 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.