June 13, 2019
Corey Beck, Francis Ford Coppola Winery 
Mario Zepponi, Zepponi & Company
Jay Vroom, Vroom Leigh Agriculture, LLC
Mike Testa, Coastal Vineyard Care
Carlos Castaneda, Castaneda & Sons/Sarc, Inc.
Earl Hall, Hall Management Corp.
Jeff Bitter, Allied Grape Growers
Gabriel Froymovich, Vineyard Financial Associates

Andrew Hoxsey and Brad Goehring


Please contact CAWG at 916-379-8995 or  info@cawg.org

SPECIAL GUEST: Retired U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Former Chair of Senate Ag Committee
All CAWG members are invited to attend.

WHEN: June 24 / reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Sonoma Valley Room & Breeze Way Lawn

Retired Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) is the former chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She was the first woman and the first Arkansan to serve as chair of this committee. Lincoln is touring California to discuss the value of trade for U.S. farmers, including winegrape growers. She is a staunch advocate for open markets and free trade, and now on behalf of U.S. farmers, she’s advocating for Senate ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Join us for a stimulating evening of discussion about the current state of U.S. trade policies and agricultural exports.

Government Relations Report
Water supply and quality concerns drive the governor and California Legislature to create laws requiring regulations and programs for the state and regional water boards. Estimated costs are discussed, but often not funded in the state budget. Permit fees are the default source.
So, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) annually increases the appropriate fees to pay for impacted programs. However, ag stakeholders don’t always agree that we receive advance warning or are sufficiently consulted, that the hikes are necessary, that expanded regulations are merited, and that staff actions are justified.
CAWG is a leader, with grower groups and irrigation districts, in fixing this. The Gualco Group, our lobbying firm, is an active voice in water matters.
SWRCB Vice Chair DeeDee D’Adamo and senior staff this past week invited CAWG and ag stakeholders to collaborate with program executives to reduce the costs of compliance by evaluating fee adjustments in advance, providing examples of on-farm consequences and ways to cut fees.
It is essential the SWRCB engages stakeholders early and often to first, evaluate the staff’s proposed regulatory program (usually too ambitious) and, second, to identify growers’ complete costs (often underestimated). And we will inform the SWRCB of winegrape growers’ historic and continuing actions to protect the environment.

-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
Wildfire Prevention: CA's Public Safety Power Shutoff - Before, During and After
The Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is a new program of California’s largest energy companies, developed in cooperation with the California Public Utilities Commission. Electric power may be turned off during extreme and dangerous weather conditions to prevent wildfires -- and power will remain out for as long as conditions pose a potential fire risk. On June 9, PG&E implemented the PSPS for thousands of customers in five counties. 

The main PSPS website and company websites offer numerous tips and resources for customers to prepare. Customers should update their contact information so that they are alerted via text, email or call regarding a PSPS.


CA Congressional Delegation Pushing for Removal of Wine Tariffs on US Wine
Fourteen California Congressional lawmakers – both senators and 12 representatives – signed on to a June 11 letter urging theTrump administration to ensure any new trade agreements with China or Japan include the removal of all tariffs on U.S. wine. Part of the letter stated: “On June 1, tariffs on U.S. wine sold in China rose 54 percent, up from just 14 percent in March 2018. In Japan, U.S. wine producers face a 15 percent tariff while tariffs are being eliminated on wine produced by foreign countries.”

Trump Mentions US-France Wine Trade in Interview on Tariffs
In a  lengthy interview with CNBC on June 10, Trump said (scroll to near the end of the link): “You know, France charges us a lot for the wine and yet we charge them little for French wine. So, the wineries come to me and they say – the California guys, they come to me: Sir, we are paying a lot of money to put our products into France and you’re letting – meaning, this country is allowing this French wine which is great, we have great wine, too, allowing it to come in for nothing. It is not fair. And you know what, it’s not fair. We’ll do something about it.”
Tariffs on Mexican Goods Averted
The U.S. and Mexico on June 7 reached a deal to avoid the threat of a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods. “The resolution is good news for many U.S. farm groups fearful of Mexican retaliation if Trump’s tariffs had taken effect today, and it once again boosts the chances of Congress ratifying the new NAFTA deal,” Politico wrote.

Wine , CA Specialty Crops Represented on Federal Ag Trade Advisory Committees
Representatives from Wine Institute and several California specialty crop organizations have been appointed by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to serve on ag trade policy committees until 2023. The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee provides advice and information to Perdue and Lighthizer on trade policy, including enforcement of existing trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade agreements. The Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees offer technical advice and information about specific commodities and products.

Senate Ag Committee Ag Trade Hearing
Today the full Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing titled, “Certainty in Global Markets for the U.S. Agriculture Sector.” Speakers included officials from the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chair of the committee, said future ag trade policy “includes not just restoring certainty to markets that the U.S. either had through negotiated agreements or as a traditional, competitive supplier, but what will be done to improve access to those same markets and broaden it to others.”

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Napa County Winegrape Crop Achieves Milestone $1B Mark
For the first time, the gross value of Napa County winegrape production was more than $1 billion at $1,038,600,100 – an increase of $287,767,700 compared to 2017. The increase in gross value was primarily due to a 29.6 percent rise in winegrape production and a 6.7 percent increase in the average price paid for all Napa County winegrape varieties compared to the previous year. The industry produced 184,573 tons of winegrapes last year. The total value of all ag production was $1,043,192,400. Red wine grapes were valued at $908,490,400, while white wine grapes totaled $130,109,700.

Impressive Snowpack Melting Quickly
According to  Department of Water Resources data , the statewide June 13 snowpack measured 153 percent of normal for this date and the snow water equivalent was 7.3 inches. One year ago, it was 0 percent and 0.1 inches – historically typical numbers for June. That runoff means rivers are running high, fast and cold – be careful!
New Report on State Water Use
The Public Policy Institute of California has published a brief report –  “Water Use in California” – that claims that ag water use is falling, while the economic value of farm production is growing. It states that higher-revenue perennial crops – including grapes – have increased as a share of irrigated acreage (from 16 percent in 1980 to 33 percent in 2015 statewide, and from 21 percent to 45 percent in the southern Central Valley). This shift, plus rising crop yields, has increased the economic return on water used for agriculture. 

Vineyards and Wine
Press release, June 12

Millenials not drawn to wine as their parents were.
Western Farm Press, June 12

Drone innovations used to scare off birds.
Western Farm Press, June 12

Press release, June 12

Press release, June 6

The crunch before the crush.
June issue

Article on blockchain technology featuring Tyler Scheid (CAWG member). 
Growing Produce, May 13

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

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