September 26, 2019
US-Japan Trade Agreement is Good News for CA Wine Industry
The United States and Japan have reached an agreement that will boost market access for U.S. food and ag products. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and ag products; wine is among the products that fall under the staged tariff elimination category. Japan is the fourth-largest export market for California wine ($93 million), according to Wine Institute. “This agreement…is a better deal for the entire U.S. economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a press release. Farmers for Free Trade said it hopes the new agreement "leads to more wins, as well as progress in achieving a better trade relationship with China.”

Government Relations Report
In 2017,  SB 498 (Skinner, D-Berkeley)  was signed into law to require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to review all state programs related to the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and make recommendations to the California Legislature. 
At the time, Sen. Skinner said, “This bill will encourage fleet owners to buy more ZEVs by helping them access funding and setting state goals for fleet turnover into cleaner technologies.” This seemed noncontroversial and the bill had no opposition. 
However, in interpreting SB 498, CARB is now proposing detailed reporting requirements for businesses that ship products. This would include growers who contract with companies to ship winegrapes. The draft regulation would require growers to provide narrative responses to very broad questions.
For example, questions as vague as, “How do you ship your items?” provide no guidance on what level of detail, or what specific information is requested. This is troubling, as the information would be required for each specific shipment, submitted under penalty of perjury and subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $37,500 per shipment.
This proposal may be geared toward a more stringent regulation for zero-emission trucks down the road. In the short term, CAWG and other industry groups are suggesting CARB obtain the data from other sources prior to imposing this regulatory burden on California businesses.

-Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995
Labor Department Issues Final Rule to Modernize and Improve H-2A Program
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Sept. 20 issued a final rule allowing ag employers to advertise all H-2A jobs online and rescinding the requirement to advertise jobs in a print newspaper. The final rule will be effective on Oct. 21. Americans will be able to find these job opportunities at ( “Your one-stop source for seasonal and temporary jobs”). This website is an expanded and improved version of DOL’s existing H-2A job registry website. Additionally, DOL announced updates to the H-2A forms and online filing process. 
CDFA Accepting Proposals for 2020 Specialty Crop Grants
Proposals for the 2020 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program are due on Oct. 18 by 5 p.m. Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $450,000 per project. Applicants can be nonprofit and for-profit organizations; local, state, federal and tribal government entities; and public and private colleges and universities. CDFA will conduct webinars and workshops (in Escondido, San Luis Obispo, Modesto and Sacramento) to provide more guidance about the proposal process.

Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos: Submit Ideas by Sept. 30
The Chlorpyrifos Alternatives Work Group wants to hear from you! The group is helping to identify, evaluate and recommend pest management solutions to replace chlorpyrifos. If you have ideas, send your email by Sept. 30 to
Sonoma County Named Wine Enthusiast 2019 Wine Region of the Year
More good news for the Sonoma County wine industry! The region earned the honor of 2019 Wine Region of the Year, beating out Mosel, Germany; Sicily, Italy; Stellenbosch, South Africa; and Walla Walla Valley, Washington/Oregon. “For its long history, resilience, commitment to diversity and global leadership in sustainability, Wine Enthusiast is proud to recognize Sonoma County.” This is the third time in the past six years that a California region has won the award (Lodi in 2015 and Paso Robles in 2013).

CAWG member LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards recently hosted a lunch with Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) and friends. 
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California Winegrape Harvest Update from Allied Grape Growers
In a six-minute video with California AgNet, Jeff Bitter of Allied Grape Growers (CAWG member) addresses the 2019 winegrape crop and harvest progress, as well as current trends in the wine market.
UC Researchers Discover Fascinating Genetic Diversity with Grapes
From the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology :

Researchers from the Cantu Lab at UC Davis and the Gaut Lab at UC Irvine have published a paper titled, " The population genetics of structural variants in grapevine domestication ," which sheds a light on the genetic diversity that, until now, was hidden to us, because we did not have the adequate tools. This genetic diversity may underly the variety of wine flavors and aromas that consumers have learned to recognize. J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, E. & J. Gallo Winery and the Louis P. Martini Endowment provided funding for the project.

San Joaquin County: Grapes Increase in Value, Move Down to No. 2 Crop
Winegrapes were the No. 2 commodity in 2018, behind almonds (meats). The grape crop was valued at $430.5 million, which is up from $395.5 in 2017. Production statistics: 97,200 bearing acres (98,100 in 2017) and 751,000 tons (666,000 in 2017) at $573 per ton ($594 in 2017).

Merced County: Winegrapes Up in Value
The total value of winegrapes was $51.1 million in 2018, up from $49.3 million in 2017. Production statistics: 13,434 harvested acres (13,606 in 2017); 129,956 tons (141,108 in 2017); $393 per ton ($349 in 2017). Winegrapes were ranked No. 12 on the county’s top commodities. 

The infestation poses an existential threat to grapes that supply Pennsylvania's $4.8 billion wine industry. Photos and video.
Associated Press, Sept. 25

Includes Q&A with regional winemakers.
Paso Robles Daily News, Sept. 25

CAWG members interviewed.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Sept. 19

Wine Business, Sept. 24
November 6
CAWG PAC event / Galletto Ristorante, Modesto

November 7
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Modesto