May 30, 2019
TODAY (MAY 30) = final day for discounted room rates!
HOTEL: To receive CAWG's negotiated discounted room rates, contact the Fairmont at 707-938-9000 by Thursday, May 30 . The rates (per night) are: $309 (regular room), $359 (deluxe room), $499 (junior suite) and $549 (mission suite).

JUNE 24 : CAWG board of directors meeting.

JUNE 25: CAWG Summer Conference . Click the link to see the list of outstanding speakers! CAWG’s annual business meeting will follow. 

JUNE 25: Eighth annual Awards of Excellence Program: includes reception, dinner and awards ceremony for CAWG Grower of the Year and Leader of the Year.

JUNE 26: Inaugural CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament at the Sonoma Golf Club (8:30 a.m. shotgun start), followed by an awards ceremony and reception.

REGISTRATION / SPONSORSHIPS: Registration and additional details are available on the CAWG website . Please contact the CAWG office at 916-379-8995 or if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities. 

Government Relations Report
AB 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego)  was one of the first bills introduced when the California Legislature convened in December. This bill would place into statute a  California Supreme Court decision  that would cause several categories of independent contractors to be reclassified as employees. In doing so, those independent contractors would be subject to wage and hour laws, as well as workers’ compensation and employment taxes.   

For growers this means that any contracted work related to growing and selling grapes would have to be done by employees, not independent contractors. Depending on specific circumstances, this could include lab tests, shipping grapes, and more. Because the court decision was  recently ruled to be retroactive  (going back four years), the fate of AB 5 is becoming even more important. 
While AB 5  passed off the Assembly floor  this week by a 55-11 vote,  Gonzalez  committed to finding a way to protect independent owner operators who have invested money into their trucks, as well as clarifying a business-to-business exemption.  These issues are expected to be addressed when the bill is amended later this summer in the Senate .
The devil is always in the details, but these amendments could be great news. They would potentially resolve concerns for growers and allow work to continue without the need to reclassify independent contractors as employees. 

-Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995
U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit West / June 6-7 in Sonoma County
The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and regional winery and vineyard associations are hosting a summit on the value of sustainability education and communications, June 6-7 in Sonoma County. Attendees will learn some of the driving forces behind consumers’ and wine buyers’ increasing interest in sustainable winegrowing. They will also hear from programs around the country that have embraced sustainability and the resulting benefits for growers and vintners. CAWG President John Aguirre is moderating one of the panels.

Leadership Transition at DPR
Teresa Marks , who in January became the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) acting director when Brian Leahy resigned, is retiring at the end of this week. Before taking over that role, she had been DPR’s chief deputy director since 2016 and has decades of public service in California and Arkansas.  Val Dolcini  has been pegged to serve as acting director of DPR, beginning June 3, until a permanent replacement is appointed. Dolcini was appointed in March by Gov. Newsom as Cal EPA deputy secretary for agriculture. He was an administrator for USDA’s Farm Service Agency from 2014 to 2017 and state executive director for California from 2009 to 2014. He also served in ag-related roles in the administration of former governor Gray Davis.
Flawed Farmworker Housing Bill Sails Through California Assembly
AB 1783  (Rivas, D-Hollister), legislation that is touted to “streamline the process to build dignified, family-friendly housing for farmworkers in California,” was approved by a 59-11 vote last week in the Assembly. CAWG and other ag groups are opposed because the bill actually does the opposite of its stated intent. 

AB 1783 is detrimental to building farmworker housing as it does the following:

  • Reduces funding for farmworker housing.
  • Creates an unworkable program to build housing.
  • Ultimately delays construction of desperately-needed housing. 

The bill now moves to the Senate for continued deliberation.

Disaster Aid Bill Blocked, Delayed
The disaster aid bill passed by the U.S. Senate last week has not yet been passed by the House. A couple of legislators have blocked it, but House members will likely vote on it when they return next week.

Canada Makes a Move on USMCA Ratification
The Canadian government took a first step toward ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally introduced legislation yesterday to his country’s parliament. Canada’s action follows the recent  agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove the Section 232 tariffs for steel and aluminum imports from those countries and for the removal of all retaliatory tariffs imposed on American goods by those countries. Vice President Mike Pence and Trudeau met today to discuss passage of the trade deal.

Meanwhile, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue  defended the USMCA in an editorial this week in response to a new University of Georgia study.
Mendocino County Supervisors Support Conjunctive Labeling of Local Wines
As reported in the Ukiah Daily Journal , the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors last week unanimously agreed to draft a letter of support for Mendocino Winegrowers, Inc. to officially support the local winegrowers’ effort of conjunctive labeling on wine bottles in Mendocino County. It cited potential added value for wines produced from Mendocino County grapes. The Board of Supervisors posted the following  documents online

  • Letter of support
  • Mendocino County AVA map
  • Why consider conjunctive labeling
  • Does wine region conjunctive labeling really work?
  • Conjunctive labeling testimonials

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Nutria Eradication Effort Receives $8.5M in Funding
In California, nutria pose a significant threat as an agricultural pest, a destroyer of critical wetlands needed by native wildlife, and a public safety risk because their destructive burrowing threatens water delivery and flood control infrastructure. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is collaborating with USDA and CDFA to eradicate nutria from the state. Last week,  CDFW was awarded $8.5 million to expand its nutria eradication operations. 

Photo by Joyce Gross, UCB
SJV Air Pollution Control District Receives $1.5M to Improve Air Quality
The U.S. EPA recently awarded $1,466,886 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (APCD) to help improve air quality. The funds will be used for air permitting and planning, environmental compliance, air quality monitoring, Clean Air Act regulations, permitting and other related program activities. EPA will be working with the APCD, the agriculture industry and businesses on strategies. 

New Winegrape Videos
Seven-minute interview with Allied Grape Growers President Jeff Bitter (May 30)

Five-minute interview with Bitter (May 30)

The New Integrated Pest Management Paradigm for the Modern Age
A new research article from Surendra Dara, UCCE advisor and entomologist, was published in last month’s Journal of Integrated Pest Management.  Excerpt from abstract:  

Earlier models of IPM focused on ecological aspects of pest management. With the recent developments in ag technology, modern communication tools, changing consumer trends, increased awareness for sustainably produced food systems, and globalization of trade and travel, there seems to be a need to revisit the IPM paradigm as appropriate for modern times. A new model – built on earlier models based on ecological and economic aspects – is expanded and reconfigured to include management, business and sustainability aspects and emphasize the importance of research and outreach.
Vineyards & Wine
Chandler is the former executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission.
Stockton Record, May 28

While the aid will help cover lost sales resulting from the tariffs, it may not help the industry recover its foothold in a large and fast-growing market.
KCBS, May 27

Considered a visionary by colleagues, he played a key role in the founding of the TTB.
TTB newsletter, May 22
Santa Clara Valley Water District is looking to buy a 5,200-acre Merced County ranch.
Sacramento Bee, May 29

The interconnected conflicts could be resolved over the next few years, marking a new chapter in state history. Op ed by Dan Walters of CAL MATTERS.
Mercury News, May 24
When the stock market tanked during the past recession, foreign investors began buying up big swaths of U.S. farmland. 
NPR, May 27

Monday, June 3
Savor: Wine, Wildfire and Climate Change
Former Gov. Jerry Brown and Dr. Anita Oberholster of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology are the featured speakers. 

WHEN: June 3 / 5:15 to 7:15 p.m.
WHERE: Peter J. Shields Library, UC Davis
COST: $10 for general public and $5 for students

2019 Annual Viticultural Research Roadshow
Presented by San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association, University of California Ag and Natural Resources and California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.

WHEN: June 5 / 1 to 5 p.m.
WHERE: FCEOC Nielsen Conference Center, Fresno
COST: $10/members, $25 non-members / $40 day of
RSVP: by June 4

Independent Grape Growers - Paso Robles Area / Summer Seminars
June 19: Summer in the Vineyard
July 17: Growing Cycle: Studies & Options for Bird Pest Control Pre- & Post Veraison
Aug. 21: Growing Cycle: Preparing for Harvest - Grape Test Before You Harvest

2019 Invasive Species Lunchtime Talks
Lunchtime webinar via Zoom. 

TOPIC: Nutria in the Delta
WHEN: Wednesday, June 5 / 12:10-12:40 p.m.

June 24
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Sonoma

June 25
CAWG Summer Conference, Sonoma

June 25
CAWG Awards of Excellence Program and Dinner, Sonoma

June 26
CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament, Sonoma