March 14, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Ag Employees Under Attack From Unions
  • Ag Worker Housing Legislation
  • CAWG Advocacy Day 2024
  • Regional Association Leadership Forum
  • Webinar: Simplify Sampling Plan Creation and Collection with Aerial Data

Industry News:

  • Final Grape Crush Report
  • Spotted Lanternfly Now Present in 18 States
  • Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Template Available Now
  • New 2024 Guidelines for FLC Licensees
  • Wage and Hour Self-Audit - Part 1 and 2
  • Free Webinar Recordings on Grape Pests & Diseases
  • California Updates Mandatory New Hire Pamphlets
  • Ciatti California Market Report, March 2024

Upcoming Events:

  • UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology On the Road Programs
  • 2-Day Regenerative Winegrowing Workshop
  • UCCE San Joaquin County Vineyard IPM Day
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit


Ag Employees Under Attack From Unions

AB 2421 (Low, D-San Jose) would provide that communications between public employees and labor unions would be privileged communications. This would be similar to the communications between any attorney and their client.

This is part of an ongoing effort with labor unions to control all communications with employees.

There is growing awareness of potential coercion by labor unions to compel agricultural employees to join their unions. This coercion is said to be occurring through initiatives offering public benefits, where the union is contracted by state or federal authorities to deliver these services. Such actions raise concerns about the freedom of choice for agricultural workers and warrant careful scrutiny to ensure fair and equitable labor practices within our industry. CAWG remains vigilant in monitoring these developments and advocating for the rights and interests of all agricultural employees.

Please see this Sacramento Bee article.

Quote of the Week:

“We place the highest priority on the protection of farmworkers, which is why the UFW should be held fully accountable for their wholesale exploitation of workers in this process and why the Agricultural Labor Relations Board should never have certified the vote given all the allegations of fraud they knew about,” said Rob Yraceburu, president of Wonderful Nurseries, in an emailed statement.

Ag Worker Housing Legislation

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) has said that his top two priorities this year in the legislature are addressing the state budget deficit ($70 billion) and building more ag worker housing. 

In general, California has a significant problem with housing. The Golden State ranks 41st in the nation in available housing. We have a homeless population that has nowhere to go, and we have a population of young people who see homeownership as a dream they can never realize. We also have a community of ag employees who often cannot find housing near where they work. So, they drive 1.5 hours every day to and from work. Because of California's high cost of housing, they often share homes with other families.

Fortunately, many growers want to build ag worker housing on ag land to meet that demand. However, they see obstacles in permitting due to NIMBY complaints, high costs of construction, and regulatory barriers that get in the way of building housing. Several bills are pending in the legislature that take on this important issue:

  • AB 2746 (Villapudua, D-Stockton)This bill would streamline permitting for building housing for agricultural employees on agricultural land. This would be a seven-year, seven-county pilot project with a report to the Legislature by each county at the end. CAWG is sponsoring this legislation. 

  • AB 1657 (Wicks, D-Oakland)This bill would create an affordable housing bond act for the 2024 General Election which would include $500 million for ag worker housing. CAWG is supporting this bond measure.

To be clear: None of these bills is a silver bullet to solve the state’s housing crisis. Our goal is to make it easier and more affordable to build much-needed housing for agricultural employees through this combined effort.

CAWG Advocacy Day 2024

Thank you to all who came to Sacramento to meet with lawmakers to discuss important issues for winegrape growers. Attendees received presentations from experts on pest management, biochar in vineyards, agricultural worker housing, and labor laws. CAWG provided updates on significant legislation and regulations that are pending in Sacramento.

More than 60 CAWG members met with 36 legislative offices to discuss the four bills that CAWG is sponsoring along with priority legislation that CAWG is opposing. 

Following Advocacy Day, attendees enjoyed an evening reception hosted by the CAWG Foundation, where lawmakers, regulators, and growers enjoyed some fine California wine and hors d'oeuvres.

CAWG’s Advocacy Day is an important annual opportunity where growers can meet face-to-face with key leaders and policymakers to discuss what is happening in the industry. As CAWG continues to advocate on behalf of growers, there is nothing more effective than policymakers hearing directly from folks on the ground who must deal with the laws policymakers write.

Thank you again to the attendees. And a special thank you to our 2024 Advocacy Day sponsors Relation Insurance, NAU County, Allied Grape Growers, Farm Credit, and G3. Your support of CAWG and our growers is always appreciated.

Regional Association Leadership Forum

This week, leaders from more than 15 regional winegrape and wine associations throughout California joined forces in Sacramento to collaborate and discuss industry priorities and issues at the 8th annual Regional Association Leadership Forum.

Hosted by CAWG and Wine Institute, the forum highlighted the importance of unity in shaping our industry's future and offered an opportunity for information sharing amongst regions. Topics included the Navigating Winegrape Supply and Demand, Legal Considerations in Wine Marketing and Messaging, Communicating Your Association's Value, and State and Federal Updates Shaping the Industry.

Webinar: Simplify Sampling Plan Creation and Collection with Aerial Data


Join CAWG and VineView for an educational webinar on March 27 to learn how to simplify the creation and collection of your sampling strategy with VineView’s new smart sampling tools.


This webinar will cover:

  • A demo of VineView’s new sampling plan creator — create sampling plans that pinpoint sampling locations that give an accurate representation of field conditions
  • A demo of VineView’s new mobile collector app — collect and track your samples with ease
  • Different approaches to sampling and best methods 

Register Today!

Industry News

2023 Final Grape Crush Report

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service-Pacific Regional Office, released the 2023 Final Grape Crush Report.

The 2023 crush (winegrapes only) was 3,684,911 tons, up from the 2022 crush of 3,396,853 tons. Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed, at 1,970,643 tons, up 3.0 percent from 2023. The 2023 white wine variety crush totaled 1,714,268 tons, up 15.6 percent from 2022. 


Average prices statewide for the 2023 crop by type: red winegrapes, $1,343.44 per ton, up 13.3 percent from 2022, and white winegrapes, $731.40 per ton, up 6.1 percent from 2022. In 2023, Chardonnay accounted for the largest percentage of the total crush volume with 16.7 percent. Cabernet Sauvignon was second with 16.6 percent.  

District 13 (Madera, Fresno, Alpine, Mono, Inyo Counties; and Kings and Tulare Counties north of Nevada Avenue (Avenue 192)), had the largest share of the State’s crush at 1,040,462 tons. The average price per ton in District 13 was $344.48. 


Grapes produced in District 4 (Napa County) received the highest average price of $7,028.63 per ton, up 5.0 percent from 2022. District 3 (Sonoma and Marin counties) received the second-highest return of $2,975.14, up 5.9 percent from 2022. 

The 2023 Chardonnay average price of $1,068.51 was up 3.8% from 2022 and the Cabernet Sauvignon average price of $2,121.21 was up 8.5% from 2022. The 2023 average price for French Colombard was $318.49, down 3.1% from 2022, while the Zinfandel average price was up 16.0% from 2022, at $763.47 per ton. 

If you find an error or omission from this report, please contact the Grape Crush Team by May 1, 2024. 

Spotted Lanternfly Now Present in 18 States

The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), originally from China, is spreading westward and poses a significant threat to California's winegrapes and orchards. While no live adult specimens have been found in the state yet, dead adults and egg masses have been discovered at California border stations and on aircraft since 2019. The insect has been detected in 18 states, including several coastal, midwestern, and southeastern states. California, Washington, and Oregon are considered very suitable regions for the spotted lanternfly to thrive.

The insect, which feeds on Trees of Heaven, black walnut, maple trees, and various crops besides winegrapes, could cause lower crop yields, vine deaths, increased production costs, and trade disruptions if it becomes established in California. The spotted lanternfly produces honeydew, affecting grapevine quality, and can lay eggs on inert objects, contributing to its wide dispersal ability. California scientists are learning from institutions in states where the insect is present to prepare for its potential arrival.

Read More

Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Template Available Now

Last year, California’s Governor signed Senate Bill (SB) 553, which mandates that all employers establish, implement, and maintain an effective Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP). This law will be enforced starting July 1, 2024, by Cal/OSHA, as outlined in California Labor Code Section 6401.9.

Cal/OSHA released Model WVPP, which can be used as a template to assist employers in creating their plans. While not mandatory, the model provides questions and examples for employers to consider as they tailor the plan to their specific workplaces. Cal/OSHA also released a Fact Sheet detailing requirements for employers.

New 2024 Guidelines for FLC Licensees

Last week, the California Labor Commissioner released a letter to Farm Labor Contractor Licensees regarding important guidelines effective 2024.

All employers in the state must comply with all laws, including newly enacted legislation, to maintain their license or registration. Given California's ongoing enactment of laws impacting workers and employers, all licensees and registrants need to stay informed about and adhere to these new laws.

More information is also available on the FAQ page.

Wage and Hour Self-Audit - Part 1 and 2

Ensuring compliance with wage and hour laws is fundamental to responsible business management and mitigating employment law risks.

Western Growers has created a series of employment practice self-audits including timekeeping practices, meal & rest period policies, manager training on break administration, tracking paid time off, paycheck deductions, and reimbursement of business expenses; and so much more.

Free Webinar Recordings on Grape Pests & Diseases


Check out the latest research and management insights for spotted lanternfly and grapevine red blotch and leafroll viruses utilizing the free webinars below:


Grapevine Leafroll and Red Blotch Viruses: Featuring Board-funded researcher Dr. Marc Fuchs exploring the biology, ecology, and effective management strategies for these viruses. 


Grapevine Disease Detection & Prevention: Learn more about grapevine disease detection & prevention from industry experts & researchers, including the PD/GWSS Board Research Coordinator Dr. Kris Lowe and Board-funded researcher Dr. Marc Fuchs.


Information About Spotted Lanternfly: Hear the latest about the invasive spotted lanternfly, a pest of grapes, from the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.

California Updates Mandatory New Hire Pamphlets


The California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) have updated new hire pamphlets required for employers.

  • For Your Benefit: provides information about programs offered by the EDD for unemployed Californians and must be provided at the time of hire and termination. The publication is provided by the EDD in both English and Spanish.
  • Time of Hire Pamphlet: The publication, updated by the DIR, provides mandated information about workers’ compensation benefits and must be provided to all newly hired employees. This publication is also available in both English and Spanish. 

Ciatti California Market Report, March 2024

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

"As expected, mid-February’s publication of the California Department of Food & Agriculture’s preliminary 2023 grape crush report failed to stimulate any discernible change on the grape and bulk wine markets. It showed 3.668 million tons of grapes crushed, revised upward slightly to 3.685 million tons in the final report released March 8th, in line with our estimate. We suspect the crop was larger than what crossed the scales – a lot of fruit was left hanging or dumped on the ground – yet the volume that eventually came in was probably still in excess of market need. That said, the bulk market has been more active in recent weeks versus January, with inquiries into – and some transactions on – a range of wines from a range of areas. Requests continue to be mainly for small volumes."  

Upcoming Events and Trainings

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.

Upcoming Events:

Please visit the Viticulture and Enology website for more information. 

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

UCCE San Joaquin County Vineyard IPM Day

UC ANR is hosting a vineyard IPM Day on April 1 in Stockton from 7:30 AM - 12 PM. Topics include Powdery Mildew and Bunch Rot Management Overview, Using Weather Stations to Understand and Respond to Disease Pressure, Spotted Lanternfly Updates,

Vineyard Trunk Disease Management, Vineyard Soil Pest and Disease Management, and Remote Sensing on Grapevine Leaf Roll Virus Detection. On-line registration is available.


Continuing Education hours have been approved (3.5 PCA and 3.5 CCA).

When and Where:

  • April 1, UCCE San Joaquin County office, Stockton, 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!



20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament



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