June 8, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Al Scheid Memorial Tomorrow - Friday, June 9, 2023
  • Lead Story: West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Annual Smoke Summit Recap
  • The Grab
  • Kiley Releases Statement on Appointment of Julie Su
  • Data Breach of Water Right Account Information 
  • Advancing Technology in Agriculture
  • CAWG's 49th Annual Meeting

Industry News:

  • California Announces $288 Million for Drought and Flood Projects
  • Governor Newsom Announces $16 Million to Support Farmworker Homeownership
  • Opinion Piece: California Needs Regulatory Reform and Quick Rate Review 
  • USDA to Invest $3 Million to Support Cooperative Soil Science and Soil Survey Research
  • The Turrentine June Newsletter
  • California Department of Insurance Invitation to Virtual Public Workshop Examining Catastrophe Modeling and Insurance

Upcoming Events

  • Canopy Management: Trellising, Sunburn, and Mechanization Workshop
  • EU E-Label Platforms and Nutrition Labeling Webinar
  • Investigating Regenerative Practices in a Production Vineyard Workshop
  • Heat Illness Prevention Training
  • Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates (GFA) Webinar Series with Jon Moramarco
  • American Society for Enology and Viticulture National Conference

Final Chance - Nominations are due TOMORROW for CAWG's 2024 Grower and Leader of the Year!

Nominations are now open for the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Awards of Excellence Program and are due June 9, 2023!

The Awards Program presents two awards annually: Grower of the Year and Leader of the Year. These awards are meant to spotlight exceptional people or companies who have benefitted the broader community of winegrape growers through exemplary leadership and outstanding commitment to the well-being of the winegrowing industry, California communities, and the environment.



Al Scheid Memorial Tomorrow - Friday, June 9, 2023

Lead Story: West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Annual Smoke Summit Recap

The West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force hosted its 3rd Annual Smoke Summit virtually on Wednesday, June 7.

This year’s summit featured prominent researchers sharing their insights and recent discoveries on the impacts of wildfire smoke, updates from the USDA Agricultural Research Service on their research activities and future initiatives, and the latest information regarding crop insurance policies and revisions specifically addressing smoke-related concerns.

Watch the Smoke Summit Webinar recording.

The Grab 


If this movie were a wine, it would probably earn 75 points on Wine Spectator's 100-Point Scale.


This week, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D, Hanford) hosted a special screening of the documentary film “The Grab.” Invited guests included Senator Dave Cortese (D, San Jose), Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, (D-Orinda), Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D, Los Angeles), Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R, Yucaipa), and many others.  


The Grab has a very focused message. Reveal News describes the documentary as “An investigative journalist uncovers the money, influence and alarming rationale behind covert efforts to control the most vital resource on the planet.”


The film attempted to tell a message of oligarchs buying up ag land and water rights all over the world, including California, and threatening food security in the United States and the free world. While the film focused on identifying the problem, it fell short on offering solutions. That’s because, while it is easy to see the problem, it is difficult to identify what created the problem, and how to solve the problem. 


The investigative reporter and director were in attendance at the screening. At the end of the film, the audience was invited to participate in a Q&A with the reporter and lawmakers. The first audience question was about California’s water supply. The filmgoer asked how we expect small California family growers to remain in business when their water rights are constantly threatened. The reporter responded by in part talking about food processors leaving California and moving to Mexico which does not have the same level of environmental and labor laws that exist in California. 


And therein lies the problem with the documentary.  


Environmental and labor laws are making it almost impossible to farm in California. So, many small growers are selling their land (with water rights) and many large growers are moving out of state. Any meaningful discussion of food security must include a discussion of why California growers are not making it, and how this is creating an opportunity for outsiders to move in.  


No one wants hostile oligarchs to buy up California ag land. But, the industry does need investment from a variety of sources who can help growers deal financially with the challenges they are facing in California. The film failed to recognize that reality. 


NOTE: This may be the first movie review in the history of CAWG’s eNews...

Kiley Releases Statement on Appointment of Julie Su

Congressman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin, CA) released the following press release relative to a hearing on the appointment of Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, the former Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

Kiley Demonstrates Julie Su’s Lack of Fitness for US Labor Secretary

“Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su spent today’s hearing astonishingly distancing herself from policies she spent years championing, refused to answer even the most basic of questions, and demonstrated she is manifestly unqualified for US Labor Secretary,” Kiley said. “Su refused to answer whether AB 5 was a good law, even though she championed and aggressively enforced the law. Su refused to answer whether she supports President Biden’s position that AB 5 is a model for the nation. Su refused to answer if there was one action she would have done differently to prevent over $32 billion in unemployment fraud on her watch. Su refused to answer six separate times whether she voted for Prop. 22. Today’s hearing demonstrated in the clearest possible terms why President Biden must withdraw this controversial nominee from further consideration.” – Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.)

Background: As Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency from 2017-2019, Julie Su championed, aggressively enforced, and celebrated the passage of AB 5. The bill effectively outlawed independent contracting in California and destroyed countless livelihoods. At today’s hearing, Su refused to answer whether AB 5 was a good law, whether she agreed with President Biden’s position that it is a model for the nation, and gave conflicting answers on her role in drafting the legislation. Su claimed she couldn’t remember how she voted on California’s most critical labor ballot proposition in a decade, Prop. 22. And after citing the unemployment rate, supplemental poverty measure, and net earnings growth as her indicators for judging the success of an economy, Su backtracked and said additional economic indicators were needed to judge an economy’s performance after Rep. Kiley informed her California was dead last or second to last in the country on all three measures.

In California, Su also oversaw $32.6 billion in EDD unemployment insurance fraud in what became the largest case of fraud in California history. During today’s hearing, Su waffled on accepting responsibility for the fraud and later refused to cite even one action she would have done differently. It’s clear she hasn’t learned from her mistakes and is bound to repeat them if confirmed.

Data Breach of Water Right Account Information 

Today, the State Water Resources Control Board sent out an e-mail notice warning of an incident that may impact the privacy of information entered into the Report Management System or Water Right Form and Survey Submittal Portal. 

Click here for the notice from the board.

Advancing Technology in Agriculture

CAWG continues to push for regulatory change in Sacramento that will better enable the use of autonomous ag equipment and automation in vineyards. This week, CAWG staff met with regulators and manufacturers to make the case that this technology is better for the environment and is safer for employees in vineyards.

This week, NBC Nightly News also ran a story about how “Artificial intelligence is now hard at work on American farms. New machines are used to kill weeds and harvest crops, speeding up the process.” The piece showed how a machine in a field in Soledad uses a laser to kill weeds without using chemicals and how that machine creates higher-paying jobs that are less physically demanding.

Interestingly, a spokesperson for United Farm Workers expressed concerns that this technology could allow workers to be “discarded.” More and more, that argument is falling on deaf ears. This is because the data shows that the workforce doesn’t meet the demand and the workforce is shrinking. Additionally, if the work is easier and pays more, technology will reverse that trend and will grow the workforce.

The bottom line is that it seems inevitable that California’s decades-old regulation will be changed. CAWG is committed to trying to make that change happen sooner rather than later. 

CAWG's Annual Meeting

CAWG's 49th Annual Business Meeting will be held via Zoom on July 13. Join CAWG’s annual meeting to hear a review of key highlights and accomplishments from the past year. Registration is open for the virtual meeting and all CAWG members are invited to attend.

Updated meeting agenda and speakers to be announced soon! 

Register here.

Industry News

California Announces $288 Million for Drought and Flood Projects

Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that his office has advanced an unprecedented $8.5 billion worth of investments to conserve, store, and deliver more water to California communities.


The Department of Water Resources (DWR), through the Urban Community Drought Relief Grant program, has awarded over $217 million to 44 projects that will help communities strengthen drought resilience and better prepare for future dry conditions.

These investments focus on:

  • Flood Risk Management/Groundwater Recharge
  • Improved Water Supply Reliability
  • Recycling Water
  • Water Conservation/Yard Transformation


The Newsom Administration has also dedicated $71 million to address drinking water shortages, species protection, and populations particularly impacted by drought. This includes: 

  • $10 million to provide immediate and near-term financial and technical support to help small communities whose water supplies have been impacted by drought.
  • $55 million to address dry wells by providing hauled water and well repair and replacement.
  • $500,000 to fund stream gages and well transducers for use in Clear Lake to better understand the relationship between streamflow, well pumping, and water use. This funding will support the threatened Clear Lake hitch.
  • $500,000 for a contract to investigate groundwater/stream water interactions in the Clear Lake region. This funding will support the threatened Clear Lake hitch.
  • $5 million to provide direct relief grants for small-scale and historically underserved farmers.

Governor Newsom Announces $16 Million to Support Farmworker Homeownership

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced $16 million in grant awards to increase homeownership for California farmworkers. The grants will support five programs statewide to build or purchase homes for lower-income farmworkers and advance programs that help farmworkers become or remain homeowners through mortgage assistance.

“California isn’t California without our farmworkers – not only are they our state’s economic backbone, but they help us produce over a third of our country’s vegetables and three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts. Our farmworkers have our backs – now it’s time we have theirs,” said Governor Newsom. “These grants will help make the California Dream a reality for dozens of farmworkers by helping them become homeowners – and help them lay a foundation for future generations to build upon.”

The grants were awarded by the Department of Housing and Community Development through the Joe Serna, Jr. Housing Grant program to advance homeownership development projects, self-help technical assistance projects, mortgage assistance programs, and programs for the acquisition of manufactured housing for agricultural workers.

Read more about the specific grant awards funded.

Opinion Piece: California Needs Regulatory Reform and Quick Rate Review 

The insurance rate moratorium put into effect by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has caused insurers to limit their exposure to this state affecting housing and automobile insurance rates. Most insurance companies now view the California insurance regulatory landscape as overtly political and some companies like State Farm (as reported in eNews last week) are exiting parts of the marketplace. In a recent article written by Michael D’Arelli, Executive Director of the American Agents Alliance, he discusses the importance of the need for Regulatory Reform and Quick Rate Review for Californians.

D’Arelli writes that the FAIR Plan is currently rate inadequate, and has limited capital. If the FAIR Plan runs out of money, private insurers must fund all unfunded losses on a market share basis creating a cycle where insurers pull back and the FAIR Plan takes on more risk.

As this topic continues to be a hot-button issue, we are committed to keeping our members informed about any changes in insurance regulations.

Read More.

USDA to Invest $3 Million to Support Cooperative Soil Science and Soil Survey Research

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced this week it plans to invest $3 million in partnerships to promote research that informs and improves soil surveys at the regional level as part of an ongoing effort to continue to provide critical data to the country. Proposals from institutions of higher education in the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) network should be submitted to NRCS by July 22, 2023.

Read More.

Turrentine Brokerage's June Newsletter

Earlier this week, the Turrentine Brokerage released its June newsletter where they shared their market update. The report shared that the total California statewide gallons actively for sale is now up to 22.4 million. This volume of wine has only been available on the market four times before, and each time was after a record or near-record-sized harvest. In contrast, the 2022 harvest was the lightest in a decade. The elevated volume of bulk wine actively for sale shows the concern of wineries over slowing consumer sales..

Read the full June newsletter for more specific varietal updates and a global market update.

California Department of Insurance Invitation to Virtual Public Workshop Examining Catastrophe Modeling and Insurance

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) is hosting a public workshop to examine catastrophe modeling and insurance in the face of climate change on Thursday, July 13, 2023.


The workshop aims to gather expertise and input to inform future regulations that could benefit consumers through increased insurance coverage options, fair and justified pricing of insurance, and greater recognition by insurance companies of federal, state, and local wildfire safety and mitigation investments.

All questions and concerns regarding the contemplated regulations and/or these public discussions should be directed to Jon Phenix. Please submit any written comments via electronic mail to CDIRegulations@insurance.ca.gov by July 12, 2023.

Register here

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Canopy Management: Trellising, Sunburn, and Mechanization Workshop

This workshop, hosted by Vineyard Team, will discuss topics surrounding trellising, sunburn, and more. Dr. Yu of CSU Fresno will talk about berry sunburn issues, trellis selection, canopy management practices, and mechanization compatibility. A grower panel including John Pierini and Zach Merkel of J. Lohr Vineyard and Wines and Eddie Urman of Vino Farms will discuss canopy management techniques.


  • June 14, 9 AM, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Paso Robles


EU E-Label Platforms and Nutrition Labeling Webinar

In preparation for the mandatory EU requirement that ingredient and nutritional information needs to be provided for wine exported to the EU “produced and labelled” after Dec. 8, 2023, Wine Institute is planning two webinars to help members prepare.

On Wednesday, June 14 at 10 a.m., members from Wine Institute’s Technical Advisory Committee as well as the Legal and International Public Policy departments will walk through the latest on EU ingredient and nutritional labeling regulations for wine and options for digital platforms available to assist with off-label QR codes. An EU nutrition calculator also will be introduced.


  • June 14, 10 AM, Virtual


Investigating Regenerative Practices in a Production Vineyard Workshop

In this Vineyard Team workshop, participants will explore regenerative farming methods. Attendees will visit a production vineyard with an ongoing, long-term investigation into the adoption of regenerative practices. Topics will include looking at SAP samples, soil samples, cover cropping, fertilizer programs, and stem water potential application in the field.


  • June 16, 9 AM, Jackson Family Wines, Soledad


Heat Illness Prevention Training

California requires that all employers comply with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard (§3395) and train their employees about prevention methods. The Napa Valley Grapegrowers is hosting a training for supervisors with Teresa Andrews, Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. The training will include 2023 regulatory updates and insights on the recent OSHA decisions regarding water at outdoor worksites. 


  • June 16, 2:30 PM, Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, Napa


Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates (GFA) Webinar Series with Jon Moramarco

Jon Moramarco, a partner in and the Editor of the Gomberg Fredrikson Report; and the Managing Partner of bw166, is hosting a Q2 GFA Webinar to explore market intelligence for the Wine Industry. Registration for the webinar is limited.


The key topics that will be addressed are: 

  • Recap of calendar 2022 market trends
  • YTD Wine Market trends
  • Beer, wine, and spirits trends
  • Data anomalies due to the pandemic
  • Market outlook for the balance of 2023  


  • June 22, Virtual


American Society For Enology and Viticulture National Conference

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) National Conference provides an ideal opportunity for networking among members of all U.S. wine and grape regions, as well as international experts and professionals. Join us for a week of focused learning in winemaking and grapegrowing, and reconnecting with friends and colleagues.

Learn the latest about Pierce’s disease and glassy-winged sharpshooter research at the 2023 ASEV National Conference. The PD/GWSS Board Research Seminar session will be moderated by PD/GWSS Board Research Coordinator Kristin Lowe.

ASEV offers all CAWG members their discounted member rate. If you would like to register using the discounted member rate, please call the CAWG office for your promo code.


  • June 26-29, Napa Valley Marriott

Visit ASEV's website to learn more about their National Conference.



13 - CAWG Annual Meeting (Virtual)



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