February 8, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Ag Under Attack in Sacramento
  • Responding to the Attack on Ag
  • The Winegrape Update
  • CAWG's January/February Issue of The Crush Newsletter
  • Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association 2024 Grower Seminar
  • Sonoma Grower Education Meeting
  • Advertise in CAWG's Membership Directory
  • CAWG Foundation Scholarships - Deadline: March 1

Industry News:

  • USDA to Issue $306 Million to Producers Impacted by 2020 and 2021 Natural Disasters
  • Are Labor Regulators Doing Their Jobs? Legislators Want To Know
  • California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance - Renew Your Certification
  • USDA Provides more than $70 Million to Protect Against Invasive Pests and Diseases in 2024
  • Wine Grape Issues Review
  • 2024 Family Business Survey

Upcoming Events:

  • Wine and Distilled Spirits Inclusion to the Beverage Container Recycle Program Webinar
  • Grape Crush Boundary Change Regulation: Additional Hearing Scheduled
  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours: Information about Spotted Lanternfly
  • 2-Day Regenerative Winegrowing Workshop
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

REMINDER: CAWG Membership Renewals - RENEW TODAY!

Need a copy of your invoice? Contact Mindy DeRohan

Thank you!


Ag Under Attack in Sacramento

This week, the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment held an informational hearing titled, “Lack of Labor Law Enforcement for California’s Farmworker.” Historically, the purpose of informational hearings has been fact-finding in nature – To gather the information needed to fully inform the appropriate development of public policy. However, informational legislative hearings have evolved in recent years. 

In this hearing, the committee chair (Liz Ortega, D-San Leandro) presupposed a conclusion (see title of hearing) and then only invited witnesses that would support that conclusion. Organizations invited to participate included the following:

  • Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indigena Oaxaqueño
  • UFW
  • Central California Environmental Justice Network
  • Teamsters Local 856
  • California’s Applicants’ Attorneys Association
  • California Rural Legal Assistance
  • Worksafe
  • United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5
  • Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy

Agricultural organizations and agricultural employers were not invited to participate. NOTE: Ortega’s official biography states she is, “the first Latina to be elected Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council, Liz has been an East Bay leader in the fight for equitable wages, health care, and safe, secure jobs.”

As expected, there was a large amount of inaccurate or hyperbolic testimony provided during the hearing, including allegations that ag employees are exposed to “pesticides that were created by Nazi’s.”

In general, the chair concluded that there is a lack of enforcement by Cal/OSHA, the Labor Commissioner, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and other state agencies. Ortega said she intends to ask for a full audit of Cal/OSHA and regardless of a historic deficit in the state budget, she demands solutions to address short staffing in these state agencies. 

Unfortunately, what seems to be an “echo chamber” approach to fact-finding is far too often used by lawmakers in Sacramento to write law. This is why it is so critically important that growers come to Sacramento for CAWG's 2024 Advocacy Day to meet directly with policymakers to hear the full story about our industry. 

Responding to the Attack on Ag

In Sacramento, labor unions, environmental groups, and regulators often tell a story that includes far too many half-truths, is biased, and fails to convey the real facts. In this polarized world, many of those groups profess on social media that through their advocacy, they are engaged in a war against evil. Many of these groups also use their advocacy efforts as a tool in organizing and fundraising.

This is the kind of powerful opposition winegrape growers, the wine industry, and the agricultural industry often face in Sacramento. And that is why we need our growers to be engaged. 

One way you can engage is through participation in Advocacy Day 2024 in Sacramento on March 12. This full day involves face-to-face meetings with key legislators, staff, and regulators.

  • The day begins with breakfast and presentations from key elected officials and regulators.
  • After lunch, we will visit legislative offices to share the top priority issues for California growers.  
  • The day will end with an evening reception benefiting the CAWG Foundation.

Policymakers must hear from you. Please register for Advocacy Day 2024. 

Another way for you to engage is directly in your community. CAWG advocacy efforts in Sacramento are more successful when lawmakers have already heard from voters in their district on important issues for local ag companies. Growers need to know who represents them in the State Senate and Assembly and those growers can be very effective when they communicate directly with those elected officials.  

Find out who represents you in the legislature here.

The Winegrape Update - February 14

Join CAWG for The Winegrape Update, a monthly virtual gathering that is designed exclusively for members. This platform offers a unique opportunity to connect with our dedicated staff, industry guests, and fellow members. Share your challenges and opportunities and directly influence CAWG's understanding of the issues you face.

February's agenda includes discussions on the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Enacted in 2004, PAGA was intended to be a more effective way to help workers resolve labor disputes. Two decades later, it’s clear that PAGA’s lawsuit-first approach has failed – it’s ineffective and inefficient for workers and unfair for thousands of small businesses. 

Register Today!

CAWG's January/February Issue of The Crush Newsletter

Earlier today, the January/February issue of The Crush Newsletter was released.


  • Feature Story: Unified State of the Industry
  • State Update: Climate Change Tax Credit for Farmers
  • CAWG 2024 Calendar of Events
  • Unified: Merlot Renaissance: Two Decades Beyond Sideways
  • 30 Years of Unified Video
  • Awards of Excellence Reception
  • Save the Date: CAWG's 2024 Advocacy Day
  • Legislation Introduced to Extend Pierce's Disease Control Program
  • Call for FFA Chapters
  • Grape Crush Boundary Change Regulations Additional Hearing Scheduled
  • The Winegrape Update
  • Last Chance to Insure Your Winegrape Crop Revenue
  • Advertise in CAWG's Membership Directory
  • CAWG Foundation's Golf Tournament
  • CAWG is Hiring an Admin Assistant
  • USDA's Continuous Conservation Reserve Program
  • CAWG Foundation Scholarships

Ads from Acadian, BASF, Peterson Cat, and Relation Insurance.

Quote of the Week

“Maybe wine could use all the help it can get,” said Pamela Vachon of Wine Enthusiast on the thought of mixing wine and milk

Sonoma Grower Education Meeting

Join the Sonoma County Winegrowers, California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau on February 27 at 9:00 AM 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. 

The meeting will be held at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Office, Santa Rosa

Register Here

Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association 2024 Grower Seminar

This week, CAWG attended the Suisun Valley Growers at their 2024 Annual Grower Seminar. Attendees heard from a lineup of speakers, including CAWG President Natalie Collins, CAWG Director of Government Affairs Michael Miiller, and CAWG Board Director and President of Allied Grape Growers Jeff Bitter, among others.

The presentations were informative and engaging, diving into critical topics such as state and federal legislative updates, insights into the winegrape market, and the latest advancements in agricultural technology. Attendees had the opportunity to gain valuable insights from industry leaders, fostering a deeper understanding of the current landscape and future directions in viticulture and agriculture.

Overall, the event served as a platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and collaboration, reinforcing the commitment of CAWG and Suisun Valley Growers to the winegrape industry.

Advertise in CAWG's Membership Directory

Advertising options are available for CAWG's 2024 digital Membership Directory! This annual directory provides an opportunity for additional exposure to the winegrape industry.

This Membership directory acts as a comprehensive guide to the many vineyard management products and services available to our CAWG growers. This is your chance to be a part of this valuable industry reference guide. This digital directory has search capabilities with the option to link your advertisement directly to your website or product page.

This is a MEMBERS ONLY guide, advertisements are not available to non-members.

If you are interested in advertising, please reserve your space by March 1.

Contact Mindy DeRohan for advertising rates and more information. 

CAWG Foundation Scholarships

Each year, the CAWG Foundation awards six scholarships to high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower.

The six scholarships are for either a University of California or California State University Four Year Program ($8,000 each) or a California Community College Two Year Program ($2,000 each). Students may study the subject of their choice.

In addition, one Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year. The Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship provides either $500 for Alan Hancock College or $1,000 for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (see the link below for the eligibility and study subject requirements of this scholarship).

Since the program’s inception in 1998, the CAWG Foundation has awarded $603,500 in scholarships to help students pursue higher education. Generous donations from CAWG members and the California wine community fund the scholarship program.

The application deadline is March 1, 2024!

Learn more and encourage high school seniors to apply!

Industry News

USDA to Issue $306 Million to Producers Impacted by 2020 and 2021 Natural Disasters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing final Emergency Relief Program (ERP) payments totaling approximately $306 million to eligible producers who incurred losses due to natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin issuing these additional payments to eligible producers this week.

“In the natural disaster recovery process, every little bit of available assistance helps offset the financial toll that these catastrophic events have taken on agricultural producers, their families, and their operations,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “With remaining funds after initial factoring, USDA was able to put additional money back in the hands of the producers as we strive for the most fair and equitable distribution of available funds to as many producers as possible.”

Under the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023, Congress designated approximately $3.2 billion to address losses in revenue, quality, or production of crops. Enrollment is currently open for ERP 2022, which provides coverage for losses to crops, trees, bushes, and vines resulting from various natural disaster events in the calendar year 2022. These events include wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, tornadoes, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture, qualifying drought, and related conditions.

More information

Are Labor Regulators Doing Their Jobs? Legislators Want To Know

California lawmakers are pressing for improved oversight of the state's labor agencies. CalMatters reports that lawmakers grilled Cal/OSHA officials in yesterday's hearing (see article above). Assembly Labor Committee Chairperson Liz Ortega has called for an audit of Cal/OSHA, citing concerns about slow responses to safety violations. 

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance - Renew Your Certification

The Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) March deadline is right around the corner! Prepare for the deadline by completing the 2024 Self-Assessment and schedule an audit. 

There are four new criteria and four criteria with language changes. These eight criteria cannot be cloned and will need to be completed after cloning your scores to the 2024 assessment. Find more information on the changes in the Code Updates handout.

Helpful Recertification Resources 

USDA Provides more than $70 Million to Protect Against Invasive Pests and Diseases in 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making a substantial investment of over $70 million across 374 projects through the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program. This initiative aims to strengthen the nation’s defenses against plant pests and diseases, ensuring the resilience of the U.S. nursery system, and improving pest detection and mitigation efforts. The projects will be managed by universities, states, Tribal organizations, federal agencies, and other stakeholders throughout the United States.

353 of the 374 projects funded this year are managed by the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, and 21 are supported through the National Clean Plant Network. The Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program projects are organized around specific goal areas that represent critical needs and opportunities to strengthen against, prevent, detect, and mitigate invasive pests and diseases. The National Clean Plant Network helps maintain the infrastructure needed for pathogen, disease, and pest-free-certified planting materials, benefiting U.S. specialty crop producers.

Learn More.

Wine Grape Issues Review

Bryant Christie Inc. (BCI) has released its January 2024 - Wine Grape Issues Review. This report was developed in collaboration with the Wine Institute to provide industry stakeholders with international pesticide and MRL information relevant to exporters. 

This issue includes:

  • EU Green Deal Farm to Farm Strategy
  • UK's Pesticide and MRL Regulation post Brexit
  • New MRLs Established in Japan
Read More

2024 Family Business Survey

Family Enterprise USA (FEUSA) has launched its 2024 Family Business Survey. The information gathered in this survey helps advocate for American generationally-owned family businesses at a national level! FEUSA is looking for 1,000 survey respondents this year.


This 5-minute, anonymous survey helps prove to legislators in Washington, DC that family businesses are vital to America and our communities!

Take the survey

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Wine and Distilled Spirits Inclusion to the Beverage Container Recycle Program Webinar

CalRecycle is hosting a webinar for small wineries and interested parties regarding wine and distilled spirits inclusion to the beverage container recycling program. This webinar will focus on SB 1013 and SB 303 and the unique needs of small wineries.


When and Where:

  • February 23, 10 AM, Zoom

Register Here

Grape Crush Boundary Change Regulations Additional Hearing Scheduled

CDFA has scheduled an additional regulatory hearing for February 28, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. to be held virtually regarding proposed amendments to California Code of Regulations, Title 3, Division 3, Chapter 2, Article 1 – Reports by grape processors. The Notice was originally published on June 9, 2023 in Notice Register 2023, Z2023-0530-02.


The date and location of the regulatory hearing is as follows:

Date and Time: February 28, 2024 at 10:00 AM

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82828708910?pwd=TDF5M1EwQTdlbWxFWS96UVYya2x1dz09

Meeting ID: 828 2870 8910

Passcode: *YveyY6r

Call in: (669) 444 9171

Call In Passcode: 35645164


For more information, visit CDFA's website.

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

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

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!



14 - The Winegrape Update


1 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline

12 - CAWG Advocacy Day and CAWG Foundation Reception


20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament



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