February 29, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • What’s Next for Anthony Rendon
  • House Passes Short-term Funding Bill to Avoid Partial Shutdown, Now onto Senate
  • 2024 Advocacy Day - March 12, Register Today!
  • Sonoma Grower Education Meeting
  • Dry Farming Practices Survey

Industry News:

  • Grape Crush Boundary Change Regulation
  • California Needs Reliable Water Supply, But Climate Change Brings More Uncertainty
  • Climate-Smart Crop Production Workshops
  • Swipe Right For Easier Pathogen Detection In The Vineyard
  • App To Warn Grape Growers of Spring Frost Secures £300,000 Funding in UK

Upcoming Events:

  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours: Information about Spotted Lanternfly
  • The Vine Connect: Merced County
  • 2-Day Regenerative Winegrowing Workshop
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

REMINDER: CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline - Tomorrow, March 1! The CAWG Foundation is awarding six scholarships to high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower.

Learn more and encourage high school seniors to apply!


What’s Next for Anthony Rendon

Late last fall, when Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) was replaced by Robert Rivas (D-Gilroy) as Speaker of the Assembly, politicos wondered what Rendon would be doing while he served out his remaining time in office. Recent actions by Rendon may shed some light on this question:

Rendon is widely known for being anti-business and pro-unions. So much so that in his last days as Speaker, Rendon said any of his Assembly colleagues who voted against labor unions were “A** Holes.” 

One of those moderate Democrats is Assemblymember Blanca Rudio (D- Los Angeles). Rendon has recently decided it is time for Rubio to go. To accomplish this goal, Rendon is endorsing Rubio’s Democrat opponent, Brian Calderón Tabatabai.


It used to be that a sitting member of the Assembly would never endorse a candidate who is running against an incumbent member of the Assembly of the same party. Such action would be seen as disloyal, as party unity was very important in keeping everyone happy. Instead, Rendon has long believed that progressives should be running the party and most moderate Democrats are really Democrats in name only. 

Interestingly, this week, Rendon announced that he is the new chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Happiness and Public Policy Outcomes. The committee’s next informational hearing is coming up on Tuesday, March 12, and is titled, Happiness: An Overview.”

Mental health is a serious issue, and a discussion of happiness and mental health is important. However, Rendon may be ill-positioned to lead his colleagues in this discussion as he has a history of intentionally pushing emotional buttons (see A** Hole comment above) and hasn’t always made the happiness of others his top priority. 

For example, in the middle of the pandemic shutdown, Rendon, refused to allow Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) to participate in legislative business remotely. At the time, she was a new mom who was nursing. So, Rendon essentially required that she and her infant come to Sacramento so that Wicks could represent her district and vote on pending legislation. NOTE: During the lockdown, the State Senate allowed Senators to participate remotely. 

In 2020, the Los Angeles Times said Rendon’s action “puts a spotlight on mistreatment of working moms.” And now, in a few weeks, Rendon is leading an overview discussion on how to be happy.  

House Passes Short-term Funding Bill to Avoid Partial Shutdown, Now onto Senate

The House has approved a short-term funding bill aimed at preventing a partial government shutdown, passing with a vote of 320 to 99. The bill, which extends government funding until March 22, received support from 113 Republicans but faced opposition from 97. Now, the focus shifts to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aims for swift approval, possibly as early as tonight.

The legislation comes as part of an agreement reached Wednesday, covering six funding bills to be voted on before March 8 and extending funding for six agencies until March 22. However, underlying policy disagreements persist, with House Speaker Mike Johnson facing pressure from the conservative wing to secure wins. As negotiations continue, the stopgap measure provides additional time to reach a longer-term agreement.

2024 Advocacy Day - March 12 - Register Today!

There is ONE week left to register for CAWG's 2024 Advocacy Day! You have an opportunity to make a difference in shaping policies that affect our industry by joining us for Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 12, 2024!


California ranks 42nd in the country in available housing. This means that there is no housing available for many ag employees. CAWG is pushing for ag worker housing funding and a streamlined process for permitting ag worker housing.  


Following Advocacy Day, CAWG invites you to a reception at Prelude Kitchen + Bar office benefiting the CAWG Foundation.

Register today and join us for Advocacy Day!

2024 Advocacy Day Sponsors!

If you are interested in sponsoring either Advocacy Day or the CAWG Foundation Reception, please contact Jenny Devine

Sonoma County Grower Seminar

Earlier this week, CAWG staff collaborated with the Sonoma County Winegrowers and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau for a Grower Education Meeting in Santa Rosa.

Natalie Collins, CAWG President, gave an overview of the political climate in Washington D.C. and issues affecting grape growers at the federal level. Michael Miiller, CAWG's Director of Government Relations, provided an update on state legislative and regulatory issues. The meeting also included updates on tax laws and tax preparation from Moss Adams. Thank you all of the growers who attended.

Quote of the Week:

“We strongly recommend TTB to allow nutritional and ingredient declarations to be done off-label via a QR code because QR-based solutions help wineries to save space on the back label, which in turn keeps the label and design redesign costs much lower,” said Ricardo Garcia, Director of Sales & Partnerships at Scantrust, a QR code provider working with hundreds of European producers, presented remarks in support of QR codes.

Dry Farming Practices Survey

CAWG in partnership with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), and the Wine Institute — began a three-year project to provide education on dry farming and water conservation in coastal winegrapes funded by the Department of Water Resources. CSWA is working with partner organizations to build a network of dry farming expertise, create resources and tools for dry farming and water conservation education and outreach, and provide site-specific technical assistance for determining suitability for dry farming. In addition, we are working to assist winegrape growers in converting or establishing dry-farmed vineyards and develop case studies and cost-benefit evaluations of dry-farmed vineyards.

Anyone with dry farming experience is invited to take the survey and share your dry farming vineyard practices.

Have questions?

Don't hesitate to get in touch with Lauren Leeds Pesch, Dry Farming Project Manager by phone at (707) 480-1149 or by email.

Industry News

Grape Crush Boundary Change Regulations Hearing

CDFA held an additional regulatory hearing on February 28, 2024, regarding proposed amendments to the California Code of Regulations, Title 3, Division 3, Chapter 2, Article 1 – Reports by grape processors. The hearing focused on a regulatory change to the Grape Pricing Districts associated with and utilized in preparation of the Grape Crush Report. Specifically, a change to the boundary definition of Grape Price District 5 which also impact the boundary definition of Grape Price District 17, which will include the Ryer Island region.

The most current information, hearing transcripts, and resources can be found on CDFA's website.

California Needs Reliable Water Supply, But Climate Change Brings More Uncertainty

California is facing increasing uncertainty regarding its water supply, with federal and state regulators informing municipal water agencies and San Joaquin Valley farmers that they can expect only 15% of their contracted allocations this year due to below-normal precipitation in Northern California. This low initial allocation poses significant challenges for agricultural producers who rely on these projections for planning crops and securing financing.

Despite this grim outlook, Dan Walters with Cal Matters reports that reservoir managers are drawing down reservoir levels to create space for anticipated spring runoffs. The Sacramento River is running high and fast, thanks to elevated releases from Shasta and Oroville reservoirs, both of which still contain well over 100% of their usual amounts of water at this time of year.

California's water management faces increasing difficulties due to climatic volatility, with precipitation patterns becoming more erratic. While another big storm is expected later this week that could bring the snowpack up to normal levels and potentially increase water allocations, the situation remains uncertain.

Read More

Climate-Smart Crop Production Workshops

UC Cooperative Extension is hosting workshops in Ventura, Salinas, and Tulare to help growers adapt their fruit, nut, and vegetable production practices to changing climate conditions. The workshops will be held March 5-7 in different regions.

“Growers, farm and ranch managers, and technical assistance providers can learn about the latest research and advances in managing risks to agricultural production that can result from climate change and climate variability,” said Daniele Zaccaria, associate professor in agricultural water management for Cooperative Extension at UC Davis.

The workshops will cover climate change trends, potential impacts on agricultural production, and decision support tools. Zaccaria and local experts will also discuss topics such as cover cropping, pests, and other relevant issues.

The workshop on March 6 in Salinas will focus on vegetable, berry, and grapevine production.

Learn more and register here.

Swipe Right For Easier Pathogen Detection In The Vineyard

University researchers from several states throughout the U.S., part of the Fungicide Resistance Assessment, Mitigation, and Extension (FRAME) project, discussed their four-year study on fungicide resistance in grape pathogens, particularly powdery mildew, during a webinar hosted by Penn State Extension. The project, funded by the USDA's Specialty Crop Research Initiative aims to address the economic impacts of powdery mildew on grape growers.

Powdery mildew has a history of developing resistance to fungicides and is typically identified only after management efforts fail. The FRAME project developed or utilized tools such as the "glove swab method" and DNA testing to simplify and expedite the detection of fungicide resistance in powdery mildew.

The glove swab method involves rubbing a hand across vines and leaves to collect a sample, which is then tested using a rapid PCR-based DNA test to detect powdery mildew and assess fungicide resistance. Developed by Sarah Lowder at Oregon State University, the method doesn't require gloves and provides comparable results to using gloves. However, the cost of PCR testing remains a barrier to widespread adoption, with growers needing to pay a higher price for quicker results. The goal of the FRAME research is to provide growers with an easy, affordable, and fast method to detect pathogens in their vineyards.

App To Warn Grape Growers of Spring Frost Secures £300,000 Funding in UK

Managing a vineyard in the UK comes with the challenge of spring frost, which can lead to significant yield loss. As springs become warmer due to climate change, buds burst earlier, making them susceptible to frost.

To address this issue, sensor manufacturer Terraprima, along with agri-tech business Agri-EPI Centre, Plumpton College, consultancy Vinescapes, vineyard monitoring company Vinewatch, forecaster WeatherQuest, and Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) have teamed up. They will install sensors at six vineyards in East Sussex, West Sussex, Oxfordshire, and Surrey to assess frost risk at a micro level.

By combining forecasting models with mapped frost risk assessments and real-time sensor measurements, the team aims to provide vineyard managers with site-specific forecasts of both frost risk and frost type. Through an app, managers will receive frost alerts on their phones, allowing them to protect vulnerable vines using the most appropriate intervention techniques based on hyper-local forecast conditions.

Read More

Upcoming Events and Trainings

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

Join UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours for 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

The Vine Connect: Merced County

Join The VINE, Merced Farm Bureau, and the F3 Initiative as they bring together ag-tech startups, UC Researchers, and farmers to work together and support the future of agriculture in Merced County. The meeting will focus on the Measurement and Incentives of Groundwater Recharge in Merced County.

The Vine is the UC Ag & Natural Resources Innovation arm and works with UC Researchers and Tech start-ups to test, commercialize, and scale solutions for the future of Agriculture in California.

The event is free and includes lunch.

When and Where:

  • March 6, 12-1:30 PM, Merced County Cooperative Extension Office

Register Here

2-Day Regenerative Winegrowing Workshop

Regenerative winegrowing is a dynamic approach that at its core is about profitably farming in alliance with the ecosystem.

This two-day workshop hosted by the Paicines Ranch Learning Center will lead participants to a deeper understanding of regenerative agriculture.

When and Where:

  • March 28-29, Paicines Ranch, Paicines, CA

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 Today!



1 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline

12 - CAWG Advocacy Day and CAWG Foundation Reception


20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament



Facebook  Twitter