Your source for CAWG and industry news
September  6, 2018

November 7
CAWG PAC reception, Santa Maria

November 7-8
CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Santa Ynez

January 29-31
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento

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Farm Bill Conference Committee Begins Work, Denham Speaks Up for CA Ag
The Farm Bill Conference Committee held its first public meeting on Sept. 5 to begin working through differences between the House and Senate bills. The three-hour session can be viewed  here . Committee leaders expressed that compromise, bipartisanship and urgency are key to completing a farm bill by the Sept. 30 deadline.  
Senate Ag Committee chair Pat Roberts: "It is not an exaggeration to say our nation's food and fiber production capability hangs in the balance with what we do here on this legislation. Time is of the essence. Let us work together to get this done."  OPENING STATEMENT
House Ag Committee chair Michael Conaway: "While I'm pleased with progress on the farm bill - we must pick up the pace. This will all come together quickly if all four principals are willing to make meaningful compromises. We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe we can get this done on time."  OPENING STATEMENT
In his  remarks , California Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) stated that "California farmers must be treated fairly and promoted in the 2018 Farm Bill." He touched on water storage, specialty crop programs, Specialty Crop Research Initiative, mechanization and other issues.

Government Relations Report

Last Friday, at 11 p.m. on the last night of the two-year session, the Legislature approved a comprehensive bill to deal with wildfires. Highlights of SB 901 (Dodd, D-Napa) are below:
--Makes various changes in law intended to manage fuels in forests, especially in wildland-urban interface areas.

--Provides $200 million annually for forest health, fire prevention and fuel reduction.
--Increases fines for utility companies that fail to comply with PUC orders.
--Requires wildfire mitigation plans developed by utility companies to include plans for vegetation management.
--Allows utility companies to sell revenue bonds to recover costs related to fires.
Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto this legislation. A unique coalition including AARP, Nisei Farmers League, the California Manufacturing and Technology Association and the Sierra Club are seeking a veto, in part because they believe the bill will likely raise utility rates (potentially substantially) without holding the utilities accountable.
> ARTICLE : Wildfire bill to aid PG&E clears Legislature despite ratepayer concerns (Sacramento Bee, Aug. 31)
-- Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995 

Value of Winegrapes in Santa Clara County Keeps Increasing
The value of winegrapes in Santa Clara County was $10 million in 2017, a significant jump from $7.6 million in 2016 and $5.5 million in 2015. Production for red varieties was 1,120 harvested acres, 3,920 tons and $1,974 per ton, totaling $7.7 million.  Production for white varieties was 481 harvested acres, 1,587 tons and $1,467 per ton, totaling $2.3 million.  

Winegrape Industry Represented in Newest Ag Leadership Class
Three individuals from the winegrape industry were selected for Class 49 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. Congratulations to James Ewart of Delicato Family Vineyards (CAWG member) in King City, Taylor Serres of Serres Ranch (CAWG member) in Sonoma, and Daryn Miller of Monterey Pacific in Templeton.

California Farm Statistics
USDA's Economic Research Service has provided the latest U.S. farm income forecasts for 2018 and state estimates through 2017 (data as of Aug. 30). 
California's cash receipts totaled $50.13 billion in 2017. The top five in cash receipts were dairy products/milk ($6.56 billion), miscellaneous crops ($6.08 billion), grapes ($5.79 billion), almonds ($5.6 billion) and strawberries ($3.1 billion). Cash receipts for grapes in previous years were $5.62 billion in 2016, $5.31 billion in 2015 and $5.24 billion in 2014. The No. 1 production expense for California agriculture in 2017 was hired labor, totaling $7.87 billion.

Proceeds support NVG's efforts to preserve and promote Napa Valley vineyards, plus the professional development and educational opportunities of farmworkers.
Press release, Sept. 4

Interest in the grape in California began in the mid-1980s, but significant plantings have taken place only within the past 15 or so years.
Lodi Winegrape Commission, Sept. 4
West Sonoma Coast may be a new AVA in 2019. See TTB's list of  pending AVA petitions .
Bloomberg, Aug. 31

A new discovery by Washington State University scientists could help grape growers roll back a devastating virus that withers vines and shrivels harvests.
WSU, Aug. 29


In the tight labor market, Napa/Sonoma winemakers are facing special challenges. Due to rebuilding the area, many workers are moving to construction jobs.
KPIX/CBS News, Sept. 5
As federal agents sweep farms across the country in search of unauthorized workers, are they targeting agriculture? ICE says no, but the farm sector says it's feeling the heat.
Agri-Pulse, Sept. 5
Articles highlights labor challenges. Several CAWG members quoted.
The Press Democrat, Aug. 31

(Belated) Presentation of CAWG Foundation Wine Competition Award 
Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) recently presented the gold medal award to David Phillips of Michael David Winery in Lodi. Cooper nominated the award-winning wine -- 2015 Rapture cabernet sauvignon.  

New Report: Managing Drought in a Changing Climate - Four Essential Reforms
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is pushing for a more focused plan of action that will potentially  help reduce the social, economic and environmental costs of future droughts. In a  28-page report , PPIC outlines the reforms as 1) plan ahead, 2) upgrade the water grid, 3) update water allocation rules and 4) find the money. "Anticipating and preparing for droughts of the future - with higher temperatures, shrinking snowpack, shorter and more intense wet seasons, more frequent extreme wet and dry years and rising seas - will help manage an array of other challenges, including growing risk of extreme flooding," states the report.

DWR Releases Report on Status of State's Dams
The California Department of Water Resources Division of Safety of Dams has released updated information on the 1,246 dams under the state's jurisdiction. The report lists each dam's downstream hazard classification, condition assessment and reservoir restriction status.  DWR says efforts to bolster dam safety is ongoing. In addition to continuous re-evaluations, now underway is a focused re-evaluation of spillways of 93 dams similar to Oroville.