April 11, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • CAWG Legislation Advances
  • Progressive Priorities
  • Washington D.C. Fly-In
  • April Issue of American Vineyard Magazine - CAWG @ Work Column
  • CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament
  • Kim Stemler Leaving Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association

Industry News:

  • Dan Berger's Wine Chronicles: The Growing Wine Lake
  • Making the Connection: Women in Wine Symposium at U.C. Davis Showcases Role Models and Networking
  • California Progressives Forced to Defend Programs as State Faces Huge Budget Deficits
  • Has Napa Recovered From its Wildfires?
  • Fresno State's Jordan College Uncorks New Wine Business Degree
  • PD/GWSS Research Videos on Demand
  • California Ag Leadership Program Class 54 Applications Due April 17
  • Ciatti California Market Report, April 2024

Upcoming Events:


CAWG Legislation Advances

After coming back from spring break, the legislature is back in session and will take up more than 1,300 bills before the end of April. This week, three bills CAWG is sponsoring cleared their first legislative hurdles.

  • AB 1861 (Addis, D-Morro Bay) was unanimously approved by the Assembly Committee on Agriculture (Soria, Chair). This bill would extend the Pierce’s Disease Control Program at CDFA for five years, pending approval by growers in a referendum in 2025.
  • SB 1135 (Limon, D-Santa Barbara) was approved with bi-partisan support by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water (Min, Chair). This bill would create a tax credit for growers to cover the cost of composting. SB 1135 will be heard next by the Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation (Glazer, Chair). View the hearing here.
  • AB 2827 (E. Reyes, D-Colton) was approved by the Assembly Committee on Agriculture (Soria, Chair). This bill would establish a statewide goal to manage the introduction and spread of invasive species across California. AB 2827 will next be heard by the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials.

CAWG is sponsoring legislation and advocating in Sacramento to financially support and help our growers deal with the many challenges facing their vineyard operations and the industry.  

Progressive Priorities

Agricultural organizations like CAWG strive for workable public policies, that address a problem in law, and that are driven by science and data. With that in mind, it is important to look at the priorities of powerful labor and environmental organizations to get a full understanding of the politics at play in California’s statehouse.

Below is a sample of organizations that are active in Sacramento with links to their legislative priorities. (NOTE: In reviewing these lists, you may notice that what happens in Sacramento does not always stay in Sacramento. This is because when some of these organizations have a victory in California, many of them will want to use the new California law to lobby for a similar federal law.)

As bills move through the process, you may also notice that, in a state with one-party control in every branch of government, political considerations often outweigh common sense in developing public policy. Nonetheless, in those conversations, CAWG strives to present the voice of reason in resisting onerous or needless legislation. Fortunately, CAWG and our industry partners are often successful in defeating or getting substantial amendments to otherwise unworkable legislative proposals. 

Washinton D.C. Federal Fly-In

A delegation of nine winegrape growers, led by CAWG President Natalie Collins and John Chandler, Selma grower and Chairman of the Federal Issues committee, are currently in Washington, DC advocating on behalf of California winegrape growers.

After a full day of briefings on Tuesday, the team had met with more than 10 elected offices and committee staff on Wednesday and Thursday to advocate for industry Fiscal Year 2025 appropriations requests and Farm Bill priorities.

Growers are taking this opportunity to discuss current challenges impacting their vineyards and businesses.

April Issue of American Vineyard Magazine - CAWG @ Work Column

The March issue of the American Vineyard Magazine is now available featuring CAWG's monthly column, CAWG @ Work.

Each month, CAWG contributes to the magazine, discussing relevant industry trends. April's article focused on the labor union dynamic currently present in California agriculture.

Read the April column online, hint - it's on page 16.

CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

Get ready to tee off for a good cause at the California Association of Winegrape Growers Foundation's 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament!

Register today and join us on Monday, May 20, at the scenic Wildhorse Golf Club in Davis, CA. 

The scholarship program is specifically for high school seniors whose parent/guardian(s) are employed by a CA winegrape grower. Since the program’s inception in 1998, the Foundation has awarded $603,500 in scholarships to help students pursue higher education. 

Tournament registration will begin at 8:30 AM, with a shotgun start. We will be playing a four-person scramble. The day will consist of fun and games, a hole-in-one contest, and an awards reception with prizes, drinks, and hors d'oeuvres. 

Even if you don't golf, you can still be a part of the fun! We are looking for volunteers, raffle prizes, and vendor sponsors. Please complete this brief survey if you are interested in volunteering.

  • Vendor Hole Sponsor & Raffle Prizes: If you have an item you would like to donate to the raffle or if you are a vendor interested in sponsoring a hole, please let us know by completing the survey.
  • Volunteers: Please join us for a fun day out on the course by volunteering. If interested please select the times you are available. We are looking for volunteers to help set up (registration, raffle items, games on course); manage the games on the course, and a floater to provide those on the course a break.

Hotel Recommendations

Download Golf Tournament Flyer

Kim Stemler Leaving Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association

Kim Stemler, Executive Director of the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association (MCVGA) is departing from her role to join the Carmel Foundation as their new CEO. Kim's departure marks the end of an era, as she has been a driving force in Monterey County's wine industry for over a decade. Her leadership extended beyond MCVGA, as she also served as a director at large on the CAWG board and joined a grower delegation m in Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of the industries federal priorities. Her efforts have significantly raised the profile of Monterey County wines both within the industry and across the state. Kim played a crucial role in community engagement during times of crisis, such as wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic. She also facilitated collaboration among regional wine associations throughout California.

Stemler’s contributions to the wine industry and Monterey County will be greatly missed! 

Industry News

Dan Berger's Wine Chronicles: The Growing Wine Lake

In an article published today, Dan Brager writes “That bottle of wine that catches your eye with a familiar brand name looks like a bargain and it may well be, but check the label to see where that branded bottle that you have trusted in the past is from. It may not be what you think it is.”

Some producers are utilizing surplus wine to create new, lower-priced offerings under familiar brands. Wines labeled as "American" may contain up to 25% imported wine. This tactic, while legal, can make it challenging for consumers to discern the true nature of the wine they are purchasing. The oversupply of wine, exacerbated by the pandemic and changing consumer preferences, has led to a discounting trend and economic challenges for grape growers. In response, some growers are leaving grapes unharvested, particularly in California's San Joaquin Valley, due to the lack of demand. This oversupply issue is not unique to California and is affecting growers globally.


The shift towards more generic labeling and the inclusion of imported wine in American-labeled bottles reflects a broader trend in the industry. Large wine companies are evolving into global entities, leveraging their networks to source wine from around the world. This trend may continue, with more wines labeled as "American," potentially diminishing the emphasis on specific regional characteristics that have long been associated with quality wine.

Making the Connection: Women in Wine Symposium at U.C. Davis Showcases Role Models and Networking

The Women in Wine conference at U.C. Davis highlighted the evolving role of women in the wine industry, moving beyond the traditional narratives of pioneering individuals to a more inclusive and supportive community. The event, organized by the student group Women in Wine, focused on key industry trends such as work-life balance, climate change, and changing consumer demographics.

Speakers at the conference discussed various aspects of the wine industry, including viticulture, winemaking, diversity, and regional wine marketing. The event also featured a panel of Napa winemakers and Madeline Puckette, the publisher of Wine Folly. Additionally, the student group launched a mentorship program pairing students with mentors in various fields related to wine

The conference highlighted the increasing presence of women in winemaking and the industry's efforts to promote diversity and sustainability. It also addressed challenges faced by women in the industry, such as balancing work and family life and overcoming gender bias. Panelists emphasized the importance of being prepared and persistent in advocating for oneself in the face of such challenges.

Read More

California Progressives Forced to Defend Programs as State Faces Huge Budget Deficits

Governor Newsom's boasting of a nearly $100 billion budget surplus is now a deficit estimated at $38 billion, with projections indicating it could exceed $70 billion. Annual deficits in the $30 billion range are expected for years to come.

CalMatters published an article illustrating how this fiscal challenge threatens to undermine the expansion of programs progressives have championed, such as medical coverage for undocumented immigrants, income support, and expanded care and education for preschool children. The Building the California Dream Alliance, a coalition of progressive organizations, has issued a legislative agenda that largely focuses on policies affecting the private economy, schools, courts, and medical care, rather than proposing new or expanded state-funded programs.

One example included in the article is from the coalition's agenda is Senate Bill 1446, which aims to make it harder for retailers to replace staff with self-checkout systems. Meanwhile, the California Budget and Policy Center is advocating for tax increases to prevent cuts to social and medical services. However, Governor Newsom has resisted tax hikes as a solution, and a business-backed measure on the November ballot would further restrict tax increases.

Without tax increases, reductions in the programs cherished by progressives and their legislative allies appear to be inevitable.

Has Napa Recovered From its Wildfires?

The aftermath of the devastating wildfires of 2020 still lingers in Napa Valley wineries like Cain, Newton, Burgess, and Chateau Boswell. However, signs of recovery and resilience are visible across the valley. An article published earlier this week describes how wine winegrape growers and winemakers have recovered since the Glass Fire ripped through Napa Valley.

Cain vineyards are slowly restoring their vineyards after losing vines and trees in the fires. Plans are in place to rebuild a winery in a more protected area, although Chris Howell and Katie Lazar have chosen not to rebuild their home on the property. Signorello Vineyards is set to open its new hillside caverns this summer, replacing the old winery. Burgess Winery, now under new ownership, has relocated to the city of Napa, while Chateau Boswell conducts tastings in its hillside cave while awaiting the completion of its new winery.

Despite the challenges, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) and other organizations are working to prevent such devastation in the future. Efforts include creating fire breaks, educating landowners on wildfire resilience, and enhancing firefighting capabilities. NVV's $2.1 million grant for "wildfire resiliency" aims to establish fire roads, create native habitat, and educate residents on fire prevention.

While challenges remain, there is a sense of restoration and optimism in Napa Valley as wineries and communities work together to rebuild.

Fresno State's Jordan College Uncorks New Wine Business Degree

In the fall of 2024, Fresno State's Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology will debut a new wine business degree, offering students a tailored path into California's thriving wine industry. With over 36,000 employees in 2020, California's wine sector has nearly doubled its workforce in the past two decades, boasting over 40% of the nation's wineries.

Gutierrez highlights the importance of the business aspect alongside winemaking, emphasizing the degree's holistic approach. "The wine industry is dynamic and ever-evolving," Gutierrez notes. "Understanding a company's operations and market trends enhances one's potential for success."

The new program blends courses from Fresno State's esteemed Viticulture and Enology Department with offerings from its Agricultural Business Department and other campus departments, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the wine business landscape.

PD/GWSS Research Videos on Demand

The latest research and management reports from the PD/GWSS Board are now available on demand.


The 2023 video project reports can be viewed on the PD/GWSS Board YouTube channel.

All 2023 project reports are available here: 2023 PD/GWSS Board Research Projects at a Glance.

California Ag Leadership Program Class 54 Applications Due April 17

Applications for Class 54 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program are due on April 17. This program is open to mid-career professionals in various agricultural fields, including growers, farmers, ranchers, horticulturalists, foresters, and others in California's agriculture industry.

The Ag Leadership Program, organized by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, is highly regarded as one of the top leadership development experiences in the country. Participants, gain valuable skills that enhance their leadership abilities and broaden their impact. Over 1,400 individuals have completed the program, becoming influential leaders and active contributors in agriculture, communities, government, business, and beyond.

To access the application, informational resources, and details about upcoming prospective applicant events, visit www.agleaders.org/class54apply/.

Ciatti California Market Report, April 2024

Ciatti Company Wine Brokers released their April Report detailing their assessment of California's bulk wine and grape markets.

"March was wetter and cooler than average across California. Continued rainfall helped keep frost at bay, with no serious damage reported, and Sierria Nevada snowpack was at 110% of normal as of April 1st. As March turned to April, some Coastal vineyards at higher elevations received a sprinkling of snow, near-freezing overnight temperatures were expected in some pockets, and there was some hail, but – for the time of year – vineyards experienced nothing out of the ordinary. The growing cycle appears to be ahead of last year, with bud-break occurring at a more normal time, welcome considering the lateness of the 2023 growing season. 

According to viticultural climatologist Gregory V. Jones, April has an equal chance of being slightly wetter or drier than average, and an equal chance of being slightly warmer or cooler. While grape growers and buyers wait to see how the month pans out, the grape market continues to be quiet, and unless April brings a significant weather event, we expect the cautious pace of grape contracting to continue, given the challenging wine sales context."

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Webinar: Assessing Irrigation Automation - 3 Simple Steps to Calculate Your ROI

This webinar will explore what irrigation automation can do for your operation. To fully understand whether or not automating your irrigation makes sense, growers need to factor in several variables, such as:


·   Current irrigation costs 

·   Projected irrigation costs after implementing automation

·   The cost of investment and payback period 

·   The indirect costs and benefits of automating


Lumo will walk you through a simple three-step ROI assessment to evaluate the business case for automating. The process can be done in minutes and uses inputs unique to your business to give you a tailored ROI. 

When and Where:

  • April 16 - 10:00 AM, Zoom

Register Here

UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology On the Road Programs

On The Road programs, hosted by the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology are educational seminars that help the department communicate with the California grape and wine industries by bringing faculty to different regions of California.

They present relevant topics or current research and listen to the issues that are important to grape-growing and winemaking professionals.

When and Where:

Please visit the Viticulture and Enology website for more information. 

Webinar: Hyperspectral Imaging for Grapevine Virus Disease Detection

Join the National Academies’ Committee on Grapevine Viruses and Disease Research for a virtual Q&A session with experts on the use of hyperspectral imaging for grapevine virus disease detection.


This session is commissioned by the PD/GWSS Board to strengthen its grapevine virus disease research strategy. The insights gleaned from reviewing existing research and conversations with researchers, grape growers, and other stakeholders will inform the committee’s final report, slated for release this summer. The report will serve as a strategic plan for the Board’s research funding strategy. Learn more.

When and Where:

  • April 19, 2024, 12:00 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 to learn about cutting-edge sustainable and climate-beneficial practices being adopted in vineyards and wineries across the U.S. — and in the broader value chain. Be inspired and gain ideas on how to share sustainable winegrowing stories with consumers and trade. Engage in conversations and build community with others dedicated to sustainability in wine at the 2024 U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit.  

  • 2-Day All-Inclusive tickets | Sold Out
  • Sustainable Winery & Vineyard Tour | Sold Out
  • Sustainable Wine Tasting & Dinner w/Keynote | Price increases 4/16
  • Day 2 Conference (May 1) | Price increases 4/16 
  • Virtual Tickets (May 1) | $50 
  • Virtual Tickets for Students (May 1) | $25 (when students register with a school email)

When and Where:

  • April 30 - May 1, Lodi

Register Here



16 - Webinar: Assessing Irrigation Automation - 3 Simple Steps to Calculate Your ROI


20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament



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