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August 17, 2017
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October 19
CAWG PAC fundraiser, Madera

November 9-10
CAWG Board of Directors meeting

January 23-25, 2018
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

February 22-23, 2018
CAWG Board of Directors meeting 

 
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Winegrape Industry Reps Speak Out at Joint Wine Committee Hearing In Napa
 
The Senate Select Committee on California's Wine Industry and Assembly Select Committee on Wine held a joint hearing yesterday in Napa. CAWG growers from Napa and Sonoma attended the hearing and spoke with lawmakers about challenges facing the industry.   

State legislators attending the hearing were Sens. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park). They heard firsthand about the industry's efforts and successes in sustainability, fish friendly farming practices and farmworker housing. A recurring theme of the hearing was that the industry is voluntarily doing tremendous work in these areas. Partnership with regulators and increased funding can help those efforts, but increased regulatory oversight does not.

Panelists included Allison Jordan, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Karissa Kruse, Sonoma County Winegrowers; Michelle Novi, Napa Valley Vintners; Keith Horn, Constellation Brands; Angel Calderon, River Ranch Farmworker Housing Center; Alfredo Pedroza, Napa County supervisor; Steven Moulds, Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation and grape grower; Rob Wiener, California Coalition for Rural Housing; and Kathryn Amann, California Department of Housing and Community Development.   

A video of the hearing is available on YouTube. The committee will hold another hearing in Santa Barbara in the fall.


Government Relations Capitol Report
 
PUC CONSIDERS TIME-OF-USE RATE PROPOSAL
 
In a significant change that could cause challenges for agricultural customers, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is proposing to revise time-of-use (TOU) periods for electricity rates. PG&E proposed the changes as part of its general rate case application filed with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The proposed changes would take effect by 2019. 
 
Under PG&E's proposal, the peak use period would be from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Currently, the rates run from noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays. "Partial peak" rates would be charged between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and again between 10 p.m. and midnight every day during the summer. All remaining hours would be considered off-peak. Summer rates would be charged from June through September. Currently, summer rates run from May through October.
 
PG&E is proposing these changes without doing an assessment of customer usage or the full impact on the ag industry. 
 
CAWG is joining other ag groups in opposing this proposal, arguing that any new TOU periods should be implemented on an optional, not mandatory, basis until the new TOU periods can be re-evaluated, with full consideration of available data. Additionally, PG&E should offer customers several TOU period definition options to reflect the uncertainty inherent in current and future market conditions. Reasonable options include the current TOU periods, flat rates and any new TOU period adopted in the rate case.
 
-- Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995


Harvest Story on Capital Public Radio Features CAWG Member and CAWG President
 
CAWG logo no words
CAWG member Steve Millier, winemaker for Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, and CAWG President John Aguirre were interviewed for a Capital Public Radio story that aired earlier this week - "As wine harvest begins, California growers face ongoing farmworker shortage." They spoke about the labor shortage, mechanization and immigration reform.
 


Agriculture a Top Issue as NAFTA Talks Begin
 
Leaders from the U.S., Canada and Mexico on Wednesday officially began renegotiating NAFTA in Washington, D.C. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer acknowledged that NAFTA has benefited American farmers and ranchers, but "NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement." In a joint letter to USTRthe American Farm Bureau Federation, Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Mexico's National Agricultural Council supported modernizing NAFTA, but not dismantling it and jeopardizing a successful trading relationship. " Agriculture in each NAFTA country would suffer greatly from disruptions to the trading relationships that have developed over the last 23 years," stated the letter. 
 
 
>ARTICLE: Agriculture industry wants few changes to NAFTA (Washington Examiner, Aug. 16)


INDUSTRY ARTICLES

UC Davis geneticist and breeder Andy Walker's lab is combating grapevine pest and disease problems by breeding resistant rootstocks and fruiting varieties.
UCD Viticulture and Enology, Aug. 15
 
A winery owner says the county has become a regulatory force more arbitrary than the weather. He claims he was told to permit his space as an ag building and then later advised to convert to commercial use.
FOX40, Aug. 15
 
Sonoma County Winegrowers has started posting harvest updates on its website. The first update covers Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley.
Sonoma County Winegrowers, Aug. 14

Marijuana businesses are eyeing Northern California winemaking regions as potentially lucrative.
CNBC, Aug. 13
 
Amador County grower talks in depth about growing syrah and several other varieties.
Western Farm Press, Aug. 9
 
Several trends that insiders observed this year in California, including sales, sustainability, premium wines, rosé and wine tourism.
San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 9


REPORTS
UC Davis Immigration Expert Authors Report on Farm Labor
 
A report by Dr. Philip Martin, a UC Davis agricultural and resource economics professor and expert on immigration and farm labor, examines the evolving patterns and demographics of the agricultural workforce. The Migration Policy Institute report - "Immigration and Farm Labor: From Unauthorized to H-2A for Some?" - used data from the U.S. Department of Labor's National Agricultural Worker Survey. In the 12-page report, Martin highlights the "4-S" strategies for employers, the H-2A program and recommendations for data collection and research. Martin spoke to the CAWG board about immigration and California farm labor in November 2016. 
 
> REPORT


DPR Report Shows Pesticides Below Health Screening Levels
 
Air monitoring results released this week from the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) show that for the second straight year, all of the monitored pesticides were found below levels that indicate a health concern or need for more evaluation. In 2016 DPR monitored 32 pesticides and five breakdown products in Salinas, Shafter and Ripon. Out of the 37 chemicals monitored, 12 were not detected, 14 were only detected at trace levels and 11 were detected at quantifiable levels. Of the nearly 6,000 analyses, 91 percent had no detectable concentrations. The air-monitoring network, the first of its kind in the nation, was created in 2011 to expand DPR's knowledge of long-term exposure to pesticides. The data from the network helps DPR determine if additional protective measures are needed.
 
> REPORT


WATER NEWS
MWD Publishes Policy Paper on WaterFix
 
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) has published its final policy paper on California WaterFix, titled "Modernizing the System: California WaterFix Finance and Cost Allocation." 
 


Water Articles and Resources
 
WOTUS: Settlement reached in federal case against California farmer
A settlement agreement was reached shortly before proceedings were to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. John Duarte had been fighting the federal government after being fined for violating the WOTUS rule.
 
 
>AG ALERT ARTICLE, Aug. 16


Daily reservoir storage conditions - Aug. 17 report
 

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UPCOMING EVENTS
26th Annual Wine Industry Financial Symposium
 
Forty speakers will cover financial, business and strategic issues of the wine industry.
 
WHEN: Sept. 25-26
WHERE: Napa Valley Marriott, Napa
              

2017 Sustainable Ag Expo
 
A multi-day seminar and tradeshow for farmers, ag professionals and PCAs to learn about the latest in research, resources and trends related to sustainable agriculture.   Winegrape-specific sessions focus on vine mealybug management, virus management, red blotch, Pierce's disease, vineyard development, plant material and disease considerations, and vineyard mechanization.
 
WHEN: Nov. 13-15
WHERE: Madonna Inn Expo Center, San Luis Obispo