January 18, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Ag Overtime Law Hurts Ag Employees
  • Surveys for Grape Crush Report Were Due Jan 10 – All Operations who Crush or Purchase Grapes MUST File 
  • Legislative Focus
  • Congress Approves Another Short-Term Funding Extension, Avoiding Shutdown
  • Opportunities During the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium
  • California 2024 Poll: Schiff and Garvey Gain Support in Crowded Primary
  • CAWG is Hiring: Administrative Assistant
  • Additional Hearing Set on Proposed Amendments to Grape Pricing Districts
  • Crop Insurance Deadline Approaching

Industry News:

  • CDFA To Begin Fruit Removal in Redlands As Part Of Oriental Fruit Fly Eradication Program
  • PD/GWSS Funding Applications Due January 31
  • California Producers Encouraged to Apply for USDA’s Continuous Conservation Reserve Program
  • California’s Unemployment Insurance Fund Has A Stubborn Multibillion-Dollar Problem
  • The Workplace Podcast: Business Legislative Wins and What Employers Can Expect in 2024
  • Silicon Valley Bank Releases State of the US Wine Industry Report
  • California Water Supply Outlook Report - January 2024
  • Applications Available for California Ag Leadership Program Class 54

Upcoming Events:

  • John Duarte for Congress Reception During Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
  • LODI RULES Grower and Winery Meeting
  • Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association 2024 Grower Seminar
  • Sonoma Grower Education Meeting
  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours: Information about Spotted Lanternfly
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit


Second invoices were mailed earlier this week! Need a copy of your invoice? Contact Mindy DeRohan.


Ag Overtime Law Hurts Ag Employees

In 2016, when the legislature debated the proposed new law to require overtime pay for agricultural workers, CAWG and other industry groups testified that the law would hurt ag employees. UFW and others ignored this advice, pushed through AB 1066 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) anyway, and got it signed into law.

Today, that law is fully phased in for most ag employers. Not surprisingly, as was warned in 2016, when evaluating how the overtime law has actually worked, a recent study at the University of California concluded, “The law led to decreases in weekly working hours and earnings for California crop workers.” The study by Alexandra E. Hill, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley, is very damning of AB 1066, “This early evidence suggests that the law may not be benefiting the workers they aim to protect.”

The question now is how the legislature will act on this information, which is somewhat new to them, even though it was predicted eight years ago. Interestingly, the study prompts consideration of New York’s law which includes a refundable tax credit for overtime hours paid by farm employers. However, given California’s current budget deficit, such a proposal would likely not be embraced in the legislature.

Nonetheless, CAWG is reviewing several options to see how the law can be amended to make it more workable for growers to accomplish the desired goal of the law.  

Surveys for Grape Crush Report Were Due Jan 10 – All Operations who Crush or Purchase Grapes MUST File

For over 40 years, the Pacific Regional Office, California of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has conducted the annual Grape Crush survey through a cooperative agreement with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). To fulfill the reporting requirements of Section 55601.5 of the California Food and Agricultural Code, operations who either crush or purchase grapes in California supply the information contained in these reports.


Grape Crush Crop Year 2023 important dates:

  • January 10, 2024 – Questionnaire Due – (If you haven’t turned them in, it is not too late)
  • February 9, 2024 – Preliminary Report Released
  • March 8, 2024 – Final Report Released: Order Publication


Additional Information and Forms

Quote of the Week

On its new portfolio of wine using aluminum wine bottles, “It’s the beginning of a new way of thinking for the wine industry,” said Jody Bogle, Vice President of Consumer Relations at Bogle Family Wine Collection. “We began by looking for ways to lightweight our existing glass bottles, and that led to a more radical approach that we feel consumers are ready to embrace.”

Legislative Focus

One of the most common criticisms of the California Legislature is that the institution is easily distracted and cannot focus on the most challenging of problems that demand real solutions. Some lawmakers counter that criticism by making it clear that the legislature is fully capable of multi-tasking. They can simultaneously walk and chew gum. 

This year, the legislature is faced with addressing huge problems such as affordable housing, homelessness, the economy, women’s health, climate change, and a few other incredibly difficult issues. But two specific bills have garnered more attention than any of those pressing challenges. For example, a bill to ban youth tackle football has been brought to the legislature in the last two weeks. Another bill of interest in recent days is a bill to create a “wealth tax”, which would impose an excise tax on residents having a net worth of more than $1 billion. 

Politico reported that should the bills reach his desk, Governor Newsom would veto both bills. “Newsom has been sensitive to headline-grabbing proposals that he believes cast the state as out-of-touch and put Democrats in a tough position heading into the election year. Last week, he reaffirmed his opposition to a new tax on the wealthy, arguing that the state already relies heavily on the rich to help balance its budget.”

There is no question that people want safety in any youth sports activities. And there is no question that California has a long-term structural budget problem. But critics of both bills agree with Newsom and see that legislation as more in the realm of politicking instead of serious governing.  

NOTE: In light of the inevitable veto, the author of the football ban relented and announced yesterday that he will not pursue the legislation further. 

Congress Approves Another Short-Term Funding Extension, Avoiding Shutdown

Today, Congress once again avoided a partial government shutdown just a day before funding was set to expire. Both chambers approved a funding extension to March, allowing lawmakers more time to figure out a long-term spending agreement. The Senate voted 77-18 and the House 314-108 to extend funding to March 1 and March 8.

Despite the seemingly distant March deadlines, the legislative calendar presents a challenge, with the House and Senate having limited days in session together—six days before March 1 and 10 days before the subsequent deadline on March 8.

CAWG remains dedicated to ensuring its members are well-informed about the ongoing progress of the federal budget and the funding levels associated with CAWG's priorities on behalf of the industry.  

CAWG Opportunities During the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

There is still time to register for the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Join CAWG for the opportunities outlined below.

Awards of Excellence Reception

The 2024 CAWG Awards of Excellence Reception will take place on Tuesday, January 23, at 6:00 PM, immediately following the Unified Welcome Reception. CAWG will be honoring Sangiacomo Family Vineyards as Grower of the Year and California Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross, as Leader of the Year. We invite all CAWG members to join at no cost. PRESS RELEASE

WGA Annual Luncheon

It’s that time of year when nationwide industry members come together for the Winegrape Growers of America (WGA) Annual Leadership Luncheon. The luncheon will take place during the 2024 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, at the Hyatt Regency, in Sacramento.

Please join WGA for lunch, networking, a presentation from our keynote speaker, Ed Feuchuk with Tank Garge, and the honoring of an individual with the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award on January 24 at 11:30 AM. REGISTER HERE


Join the CAWG PAC for a rockin' good time at Ace of Spades on Wednesday, January 24 from 8:30 to 11 PM in downtown Sacramento. Live music will be on tap by Remedy 7, featuring our very own Michael Miiller (CAWG's Director of Government Relations) on drums. Sponsorship opportunities are available! Be sure to get your tickets in advance online. Ace of Spades is a music concert venue on R Street between 14th and 15th streets.


California 2024 Poll: Schiff and Garvey Gain Support in Crowded Primary

An Emerson College Polling/Inside California Politics survey of the California Senate Election reported that a quarter of voters (25%) support Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, while 18% support former Los Angeles Dodger, Republican Steve Garvey, 13% support Democratic Representative Katie Porter, 8% support Representative Barbara Lee. Just under a quarter (24%) of voters remain undecided. Since the Emerson/Inside California Politics November poll, Schiff’s support has grown nine points, from 16% to 25%, Garvey increased eight points from 10% to 18%, Porter’s support remained the same at 13%, and Barbara Lee has lost a percentage point, from 9% to 8%.

Regarding the Presidential Primary, the survey reported in the Republican Presidential Primary, 62% of voters support Donald Trump, 10% Nikki Haley, 6% Ron DeSantis, and 7% Vivek Ramaswmay, who dropped out of the race after the poll completed fielding. Fifteen percent are undecided. And in the Democratic Presidential Primary, 72% support President Joe Biden as the party nominee, 5% support Marianne Williamson, and 3% support Dean Phillips. Thirteen percent are undecided.

In a potential matchup between Trump and Biden, Biden leads 54% to 34%. Twelve percent are undecided. With third-party candidates Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein added to the ballot, Biden leads 47% to 32%, 6% support Kennedy Jr., and 1% support West and Stein respectively. The share of undecided voters increases to 14%.

Read more on the topline findings. 

CAWG is Hiring: Administrative Assistant

CAWG is excited to announce that it is currently accepting applications for a part-time administrative assistant.

An ideal candidate will provide administrative, clerical, and computer support for the association aiming to deliver comprehensive administrative assistance, facilitate efficient communication among team members, ensure seamless coordination of tasks and events, and enhance overall productivity.

This is a part-time position, averaging 20-25 hours per week, with an hourly rate. This position offers room for growth, with the potential for increased hours and responsibilities.

Interested candidates should submit their resume, cover letter, and any inquiries to Carolee Williams.

Please share with those who may be interested.

Additional Hearing Set on Proposed Amendments to Grape Pricing Districts


Today, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) hosted a public hearing regarding the proposal to amend Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Division 3, Chapter 2, Article 1, Section 1700. This rulemaking action would modify the boundary between Grape Pricing Districts 5 and 17 utilized for the Grape Crush Report.

The hearing concluded with the announcement of a second virtual hearing scheduled for February 28 at 10:00 am. The public comment period remains open, allowing interested individuals or their authorized representatives to submit written comments regarding the proposed regulatory action to the Department through mail, fax, or email.

Copies of the proposed text of the regulation, the Initial Statement of Reasons, and information on the upcoming virtual hearing can be accessed on CDFA's website.

Crop Insurance Deadline Approaching - January 31

As a reminder, the deadline to have your 2024 grape crop insurance coverage in place is January 31, 2024. Crop insurance is the first line of defense a grower has against unpredictable weather and smoke exposure. Reviewing your coverage annually and understanding your policy can provide you with peace of mind for the growing season, knowing you are covered if your crop fails. If you need a policy review or require new coverage, please reach out to a licensed agent to discuss this now.


  • The Federal Multiperil Crop Insurance (MPCI) policy covers yield losses caused by all naturally occurring perils, such as frost, heat, excessive moisture/flooding, failure of irrigation supply/drought, and wildfire/smoke exposure.
  • Your vineyard yields are utilized to establish the coverage, so this is a very individualized risk management tool. You can even use your contracted prices to make this more customized, though this is optional.
  • The premiums for MPCI coverage are subsidized, so growers only pay a portion of the full premium.
  • Catastrophic (CAT) coverage can be purchased for an administrative fee of $655 (by variety/county), with no premium.
  • Optional coverage for market price declines offered through Whole Farm Revenue Protection with a deadline of February 28th 
  • Policyholders are not billed for their 2023 coverage until September of 2023.


Act now to protect yourself from what may be on the horizon in 2023.

Relation Insurance (formerly Pan American) is a longstanding partner and trusted insurance provider for CAWG members. They would be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding your policy. 

Should you want a quote, you can contact Relation Insurance Services directly, or locate a licensed agent.


Relation Insurance Office: (559) 222-0300

Kristine Fox kristine.fox@relationinsurance.com

James Dillon  james.dillon@relationinsurance.com

Industry News

CDFA To Begin Fruit Removal in Redlands As Part Of Oriental Fruit Fly Eradication Program

CDFA announced today it is preparing to begin large-scale fruit removal In the Redlands-area of San Bernardino County. Removal will occur at more than 2,000 residences and is scheduled to begin in late January. 

In the press release, CDFA stated that all host fruit for the Oriental fruit fly—citrus as well as a number of other fruits--will be removed from properties, with trees remaining in place. 

Properties slated for fruit removal are north and south of I-10, with a northern boundary of E. Highland Ave, a western boundary at the intersection of Garden and Elizabeth streets, an eastern boundary of Alta Vista Dr., and a southern boundary of Silver Leaf Ct. A map of the area may be viewed here.

This approach will allow CDFA and its partners at the USDA and local agricultural commissioners’ office to break the lifecycle of the invasive fly, which lays eggs in fruit that develop into larvae (maggots), posing a threat to both residential and commercial citrus as well as a total of more than 230 crops, including nuts, vegetables and berries. 

CDFA is planning to host a public meeting in Redlands on January 24 to share details of the fruit removal project. The meeting will occur from 6-8 pm at the San Bernardino County Museum at 2024 Orange Tree Ln., Redlands, CA 92374.

More information about the Oriental fruit fly is available at CAFruitFly.com.

PD/GWSS Funding Applications Due January 31

The Pierce's Disease and Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board provides grant funding to research and outreach projects focused on protecting vineyards, preventing the spread of winegrape pests and diseases, and delivering practical and sustainable solutions. Project proposals are due via online submission by January 31, 2024.


The Board's research and outreach program, funded by the PD/GWSS winegrape grower assessment, has given 282 grants since 2001, including 17 in 2023, with $42.5 million invested in PD and glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS) research and $12.4 million invested in research for other pests and diseases.

California Producers Encouraged to Apply for USDA’s Continuous Conservation Reserve Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently accepting applications for the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (Continuous CRP). USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages agricultural producers and landowners in California who are interested in conservation opportunities for their land in exchange for yearly rental payments to consider the enrollment options available through Continuous CRP, which also includes the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program offered through FSA partners.

Producers currently participating in CRP can now apply to re-enroll, if their contracts will expire this year.  

Learn more and apply here.

California’s Unemployment Insurance Fund Has A Stubborn Multibillion-Dollar Problem

California's Employment Development Department (EDD) is currently suffering a managerial breakdown primarily due to the COVID-19-induced job losses, but also due to the EDD's mishandling of both legitimate unemployment claims and a massive fraud issue and finally, the substantial debt incurred by the state to the federal government.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), reliant on employer payroll taxes, struggles to meet benefit payments due to a historical political stalemate and increased benefits in 2001. Despite prior repayments, the debt resurfaced amid the pandemic, leading to concerns about the UIF's weakening financial position. An article published by CalMatters, underscores the potential consequences of the current situation, which may force the state to borrow further in economic downturns, raising questions about the UIF's resilience and the need for reforms from both unions and employers.

Read More

The Workplace Podcast: Business Legislative Wins and What Employers Can Expect in 2024

This episode of The Workplace podcast, hosted by CalChamber explores some of the key bills and topics that arose during the 2023 legislative session.

CalChamber Associate General Counsel Matthew Roberts is joined by CalChamber Senior Policy Advocate Ashley Hoffman and Chris Micheli, partner at Snodgrass & Micheli, LLC, to review legislative wins and what employers can expect in 2024. Topics discussed include AI, Predictive Scheduling, and 2023 successes for business (AB 1356, AB 524, AB 747, SB 627).

Silicon Valley Bank Releases State of the US Wine Industry Report

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a division of First Citizens Bank, released its 2024 State of the US Wine Industry Report.

"Now more than ever, changing market dynamics favor wineries that adapt to a changing demand environment," said Rob McMillan, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division founder and author of the report. "Solutions to changing demand should include collaboration across the industry, but absent that, finding increased efficiencies in marketing and sales will become critical for success."

The 2024 report examines the latest consumption, pricing, sales data, and the most promising wine industry marketing strategies.

California Water Supply Outlook Report - January 2024

NRCS is using a new water supply forecast (WSF) system, the Multi‐Model Machine‐Learning Metasystem, or M4 in 2024. In comparison to the historic singular WSF model, the new system creates a mean value from six different forecast models. Using the mean of the ensemble of models harnesses the strengths of each technique while insulating against potential individual model vulnerabilities.

As of January 5th, snowpack is 37 percent of normal for the dates in the northern Sierras; 33 percent of normal in the central Sierras; and 25 percent in the southern Sierras. 

As of January 8th, the Northern Sierra‐, San Joaquin‐, and Tulare Basin Index stations received 60‐, 41‐, and 37 percent of the seasonal average to date (23‐, 14‐, and 16 percent of an average water year). Late December and early January’s dry weather patterns helped keep seasonal rainfall totals stagnant. 

Learn more here.

Applications Available for California Ag Leadership Program Class 54

Applications are now being accepted for Class 54 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. Applicants should be mid-career growers, farmers, ranchers, horticulturalists, foresters and/or individuals working in other areas of California’s diverse agriculture industry. Through the program, fellows learn leadership skills that help them expand their impact. More than 1,400 individuals have participated in the program and are influential leaders and active volunteers in agriculture, communities, government, business and other areas. 

Over the course of the intensive 17-month program, fellows are immersed in numerous topics, including leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical thinking, change management, emotional intelligence and other skills and tools that contribute to improved performance. Along with individualized leadership development coaching, fellows engage in situations and discussions focused on complex social and cultural issues. 

Upcoming Events and Trainings

John Duarte for Congress Reception During Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

Join John Duarte for Congress for a reception immediately following the Awards of Excellence Reception at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium. Click here to learn more about CAWG member and Congressman John Duarte.

When and Where:

  • January 23, 7-8:30 PM, Tequila Museo Mayahuel, Sacramento

Register Here

LODI RULES Grower and Winery Meeting

The LODI RULES Community gathers each year to connect, discuss the previous certification year, and learn something new. This annual meeting will provide attendees with the latest resources to get the most out of LODI RULES. This meeting will include a “Pathways to Profitability” panel discussion and a LODI RULES PEAS 2.0 self-calculating Excel template created by PCA Nick Sysock.

We’re offering both an in-person event on January 18 in Lodi and a virtual option on January 19.

When and Where:

  • January 18, 10 AM - 4 PM, Burgundy Hall, Lodi Grape Festival Grounds, Lodi
  • January 19, Virtual

Learn More

Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association 2024 Grower Seminar

Join the Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association (SVVGA) for thier annual grower seminar. The meeting will focus on the state of the winegrape industry, 2024 regulatory changes, State and Federal legislation changes, and new technology for aerial assessments of vineyards.

Speakers will include Natalie Collins, CAWG President, Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations, and Jeff Bitter, Allied Grape Growers, and CAWG Director.

When and Where:

  • February 6, 7:30 - 11:30 AM, Bally Keal Estate, Suisun Valley

Sonoma Grower Education Meeting

Join the Sonoma County Winegrowers, California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau for a Grower Education Meeting. The meeting will focus on updated tax laws and tax preparation, and an update on state and federal issues. 

Speakers will include Natalie Collins, CAWG President, and Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations. 

When and Where:

  • February 27, 9-11 AM, Sonoma County Farm Bureau Office, Santa Rosa

Register Here

UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours: Information about Spotted Lanternfly

Join UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours for a an information session focused on Spotted Lanternfly.

Cindy Kron, UCANR Integrated Pest Management Advisor, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties, will give a short presentation about Spotted lanternfly followed by a Q&A session. Topics will include the origin and current US distribution, host plants and preferred host plants (tree-of-heaven and grapevines), identification of life stages, and how and where to report sightings. It is free to attend but registration is required. 

When and Where:

  • March 5, 1-2 PM, Zoom

Register Here

U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

Join the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and co-hosts from California, Washington, New York, and Oregon for the U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit.

Explore innovative sustainable and climate-beneficial practices implemented in vineyards and wineries nationwide, along with insights into the broader value chain. Find inspiration and gather ideas for effectively communicating sustainable winegrowing narratives to both consumers and the trade. Join discussions and connect with like-minded individuals committed to sustainability in the wine industry.

When and Where:

  • April 30 - May 1, Lodi

Register Here - Early Bird Registration Ends February 29!



23-25 - Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

23 - 2024 Awards of Excellence Reception

24 - WGA Annual Leadership Luncheon

24 - CAWG PAC Event During Unified Wine & Grape Symposium


14 - The Winegrape Update


1 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline

12 - CAWG Advocacy Day and CAWG Foundation Reception



Facebook  Twitter