August 1, 2019
Wine Industry Task Force Meets on Smoke Exposure Issues
Wine industry members from California, Oregon and Washington last week gathered to address the many commercial issues that can arise when winegrape vineyards are exposed to wildfire smoke. Leaders from CAWG, Oregon Winegrowers Association and Washington Winegrowers convened a daylong meeting of an 18-person West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force, supported by experts including enology scientists, a contract lawyer and crop insurance professionals. The task force met at the CAWG office on July 24.

Now in Effect: Emergency Regulation to Protect Outdoor Workers from Wildfire Smoke
Cal/OSHA’s emergency regulation requiring employers to protect workers from hazards associated with wildfire smoke went into effect on July 30 ( press release announcement ), following its approval by the Office of Administrative Law. 

Also on July 30, CAWG and Wine Institute hosted a webinar ( webinar recording ) on this new regulation and the actions growers need to take to comply. Topics included AQI levels from wildfires, N-95 masks, safety information and FIT tests, medical evaluations and waivers for voluntary use.

Related articles:
Wine Business, July 29

CalChamber, July 31
Government Relations Report
As the California Legislature grappled with difficult policy issues raised as a result of the tragic and historic wildfires caused by utilities, the Legislature required utility companies to beef up their safety operations. This includes clearing brush, closely monitoring power lines, increased maintenance and much more.  
In response, utility companies have implemented several changes, including working closely with CalFire to identify potentially dangerous weather situations and then shut off power in advance. This means that when the vegetation is dry and the weather is hot and windy, the utility may power down the lines in those areas. Because of the nature of the electricity grid, this could also shut off power in areas several miles away.
The concern for growers will be dealing with the potential situation where a winery’s power is shut off during harvest. If the winery cannot accept the grapes because there is no power, this could have a detrimental effect on growers. To exacerbate things, some utilities have experienced difficulties in turning power back on, which keeps the power off for an extended period.
The solutions are not immediately known, but several wine industry groups are working with the utilities and other stakeholders to anticipate these situations and develop best practices to identify alternative power sources in such situations. 
-Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995
Official Letter Regarding Grape Crush Report, PDCP Assessments
Now online is the  official letter and order announcing that the Grape Crush Report assessment will increase and the Pierce’s Disease Control Program assessment will decrease for the 2019 crop year. The letter was sent to Grape Crush Program stakeholders this week. The Grape Crush Report assessment rate had not been adjusted in more than 20 years. 
CDFA Seeks Input on 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
CDFA is requesting comments from specialty crop stakeholders on the  proposed program priorities for the 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The priorities help guide potential applicants to submit projects that address the most relevant issues affecting the industry. Those interested can attend one of the four  public listening sessions or email comments to  between Aug. 1 and Aug. 16. 
CDFA Accepting Proposals for 2019 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
Proposals for the 2019 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP) -- a federal grant program offered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service -- are due Sept. 1. Grant awards range from $250,000 to $1 million per project and may last for up to three years. Applicants can be specialty crop producer associations and groups, state agencies, tribal government entities, universities, nonprofits and other stakeholder groups and organizations. All SCMP proposals must include at least two partners ("multi-state partners") and these partners must be located in two states to qualify. 

CDFA is hosting webinars on Aug. 7 and Aug. 14 to provide an overview of the application process.

USMCA Update
A House Democrats’ trade working group met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on July 26 – their fourth meeting to discuss USMCA. The Ways and Means Committee chair  released a statement following the meeting, which concluded, “Democrats have clearly explained the needed improvements to the renegotiated NAFTA as it stands. Now, it is time for the administration to respond to our proposals. We remain committed to working diligently with Ambassador Lighthizer on this agreement. The timeline for consideration of the revised deal depends on the administration’s willingness to negotiate with us in good faith to address House Democrats’ concerns.”

The full Senate Finance Committee on July 30 held a hearing with witnesses from several industries, including agriculture. Committee chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in his  opening remarks , “I urge House Democrats and Ambassador Lighthizer to focus on their specific concerns and to propose solutions in short order, so that we can pass USMCA. Doing so will provide much-needed certainty to American workers, businesses, farmers, ranchers and families, and will enhance the credibility of our ambitious global trade agenda.”

House Ag Committee Ranking Member to Retire in 2020
After serving eight terms in Congress, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas)  announced this week that he will not seek re-election in 2020. He is currently the ranking member of the House Ag Committee and was considered the leading Republican on the committee for three terms. During Conaway's tenure as chair of the committee, he was instrumental in crafting and passing the 2018 farm bill. 
Start Promoting Your California Wine Month Events
September is California Wine Month! The  Discover California Wines website is providing a list of events throughout the state. Wine Institute members, California winery and grower associations can  submit events online ( must include Wine Institute member ) . Remember to use #CaliforniaWineMonth on social media! 

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Top 10 Pesticide Use Violations of 2018
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has released its  10 most common violations of pesticide laws and regulations in agriculture. The agency recommends growers review the list to help ensure that you are in compliance. 
Winery Numbers Increase, Distributors Consolidate -- What's a Mid-Size Winery to Do?
Video from California AgNet/American Vineyard Magazine: With the number of wineries in the U.S. higher than ever, and only a few retailers controlling the bulk of wine distribution, what’s a mid-size winery to do to get its product through the supply chain? Watch this  five-minute video featuring Glenn Proctor of Ciatti Company (CAWG member).
Santa Barbara County: Winegrapes No. 2 Crop, but Down in Value
The total value of winegrapes in Santa Barbara County was $121,307,213 for 2018, well below the 2017 value of $146,129,595. Total production in 2018 was 59,119 tons, harvested acreage was 16,166, and price per ton was $2,052. In comparison, total production in 2017 was 72,690 tons, harvested acreage was 21,572, and price per ton was $1,866. The top five varieties by value in 2018 were pinot noir ($46.3 million), chardonnay ($34.9 million), syrah ($10.5 million), cabernet sauvignon ($4.1 million) and grenache ($4.03 million).

Vineyard & Wine
Read the latest news and updates in the July issue.

CAWG member employees quoted: Duff Bevill, Steve Dutton and Karissa Kruse.
The Press Democrat, July 27

CAWG members quoted.
The Press Democrat, July 25

High-tech firms are using AI to help famers decide when to plant, water, spray and harvest crops. Trinchero Family Estates mentioned in article.
Quartz, July 24

Press release, June 3
Growing Produce, July 29

Acknowledging that DPR can sometimes be at odds with the ag industry, Val Dolcini hopes to improve collaboration and increase agency transparency.
Ag Net West, July 29

Bayer still faces Roundup lawsuits by more than 13,400 plaintiffs across the nation.
Reuters, July 25

Los Angeles Times, July 16
Wildfire and Weather
Nearly $1 billion included in the 2019-20 state budget is earmarked for emergency preparedness, response and recovery for disasters.
Press release, July 19

CANCELED: Lodi Field Meeting: Maximizing the Efficiency of Airblast Spraying -- Full Canopy
2019 Oakville Station Seminar Series
WHEN: Aug. 2 / 1 to 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oakville Experimental Station, 1380 Oakville Grade Road, Oakville
COST: $50
TOPICS: Yield estimation, viticultural zoning using proximal sensing and C13 analysis, trellis design for mechanization, updates on virus diseases, crop load management, autonomous cultivation in vineyards and more. Ends with a social hour and BBQ.

Sonoma Grower Education Meeting
HOSTED BY: California Association of Winegrape Growers, Sonoma Count Winegrowers, and Sonoma County Farm Bureau
WHEN: Aug. 7 / 9 to 11 a.m.
WHERE: Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 3589 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa
TOPICS: Tax laws + state and federal issues update.

August 7
Sonoma Grower Education Meeting, Santa Rosa

November 7
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Modesto