April 25, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • CAWG Legislation Clears Hurdles
  • Specialty Crops Security Act Introduced in US Senate
  • Heat Illness Prevention Regulation
  • Hocus Pocus Rulemaking
  • Nominations Open for CAWG's Grower and Leader of the Year
  • CAWG Director Recognized as Napa Valley Grower of the Year
  • CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament
  • The Winegrape Update - May 8, 2024 @ 3 PM
  • eAlert: Crop Insurance Reminder - Contract Price Option

Industry News:

  • California Grape Acreage Report - 2023 Summary
  • No Controversy - Sonoma County's Sustainability Commitment & Results Remain Unwavering and Unprecedented
  • Vineyard Team Podcast: California's Ban on Autonomous Equipment
  • CSWA Hosting In-Person Dry Farming Workshops
  • California Ag Leadership Program Launches New Column - Leadership Insights
  • California Farm Bureau's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Mentorship Program

Upcoming Events:

  • Climate Science Workshop
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit
  • 2024 UCCE Vineyard Irrigation and Nutrient Management Workshop
  • UC Davis Grape Day in Oakville
  • Vineyard Irrigation Masterclass


CAWG Legislation Clears Hurdles

This week, two bills sponsored by CAWG were approved by a second legislative committee.

SB 1135 (Limon, D-Santa Barbara) was approved by the Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation. This bill would create a tax credit to reimburse growers for the cost of using compost in their fields, orchards, or vineyards.

AB 2827 (E. Reyes, D-Colton) was approved by the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. This bill would require state agencies to develop and implement strategies to detect, control, monitor, and eradicate invasive species.

Both bills will be heard next by the Appropriations Committees.

Specialty Crops Security Act Introduced in US Senate

Today, U.S. Senators Laphonza Butler (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Specialty Crops Security Act (S. 4168). This bipartisan legislation proposes an increase in funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program, elevating the annual authorization from $85 to $100 million. Moreover, the bill seeks to enhance stakeholder engagement by allowing specialty crop producers to provide input on the allocation of program funding by state departments of agriculture. By prioritizing increased funding and stakeholder involvement, the Specialty Crops Security Act aims to fortify the resilience and competitiveness of the specialty crop sector, ensuring its vitality and sustainability for years to come.


Senator Butler stated in the press release, “California’s farmers produce nearly half of the country’s specialty crops and they deserve a seat at the table when state departments of agriculture make decisions about how to allocate funding that directly impacts them.”


S. 4168 is endorsed by the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, of which CAWG is a member, and provided the following statement: “Over its 20-year life, the Specialty Crop Block Grant program has enhanced the competitiveness of specialty crop growers across the country. Its track record of success, tailored by each state’s unique priorities, merits increased investment from the federal government. The Specialty Crop Security Act of 2024, authored by Senators Butler (CA) and Collins (ME), fulfills that goal through additional funding and enhancements to meet the future needs of the U.S. specialty crop industry.”

In addition to U.S. Senators Butler (D-Calif.) and Collins (R-Maine), the Specialty Crops Security Act is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M), Angus King (D-Maine), Ben Luján (D-N.M), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Full Bill Text

Heat Illness Prevention Regulation

Late last week it was announced that the proposed workplace safety standard for Heat Illness Prevention for Indoor Places of Employment would be rejected on procedural grounds by the Office of Administrative Law. However, that regulation was quickly given a second chance. The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has 120 days from the date of rejection to amend the proposed regulation to resolve the discrepancy in how the Board calculated the costs of compliance. 

At issue is how much the standard will cost the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Given the state budget deficit of around $72 billion, the Newsom Administration believes complying with this regulation has a price tag that is just too steep for prisons.

Consequently, the proposed regulation will be amended to provide that prisons are exempt from the regulation. Additionally, the Board will develop a new heat illness prevention standard focused only on prisons. The prisons-only regulation will likely take three or four years to become law.

For more than 6 years, CAWG has been asking that the indoor heat regulation recognize that employees working in vineyards are already covered by the outdoor heat illness prevention regulation. It makes no sense to require compliance with two regulations that are overlapping and inconsistent. This creates needless costs for growers while providing no added protection for employees.

Nonetheless, the Board disregarded CAWG’s concerns. But when the Board learned that state prisons cannot afford to comply with the regulation, the Board immediately announced that it was willing to create a carve-out.

Interestingly, labor unions are outraged and before last week’s announcement, a coalition of labor unions stated, “We demand that it [the regulation] be fully implemented as the Board voted to approve it; without exceptions or exemptions for any workplace.”

Hocus Pocus Rulemaking

Now You See It -- When the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved the heat illness prevention regulation in March, it did so in a procedurally questionable manner. Specifically, midway through the public meeting, the Board's chair abruptly adjourned the hearing in anger due to labor union protestors. The meeting was then reconvened without public notice and the Board approved the regulation even though the regulation had been pulled from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. That meeting was viewed live by the public in-person and online.

Now You Don’t -- When the Board posted the video recording of the hearing online this week, the video was altered to remove the adjournment. This video is the Board’s official record of the hearing until a transcript is prepared. To hear what is missing, click here for the chair’s adjournment of the meeting. Warning – the recording includes foul language that is used by the chair in an official capacity.

There is an old saying that writing law is a lot like making sausage. While that saying may be true, this Board seems to be making sausage in the messiest possible way. Let’s hope this Board cleans up its act very soon.

Nominations Open for CAWG's 2025 Grower and Leader of the Year

Nominations are NOW OPEN for the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Awards of Excellence Program. This program recognizes outstanding individuals or companies in the winegrape growing community through two prestigious awards: Grower of the Year and Leader of the Year.

These awards honor those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication to the industry, California communities, and environmental stewardship.

Congratulations again to Sangiacomo Family Vineyards of Sonoma County (CAWG’s 2024 Grower of the Year), and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary, Karen Ross (2024 Leader of the Year). A full list of past recipients can be found here.

Nominations are due by June 15, 2024!

The CAWG Awards of Excellence reception will be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2025, during the opening night of the 2025 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium held in Sacramento.


Grower of the Year
Leader of the Year

For more information and to view past award recipients, please visit the CAWG website. For questions, contact Mindy DeRohan, Manager of Membership and Communications.

CAWG Director Recognized as Napa Valley Grower of the Year

Paul Goldberg, a current CAWG Director, has been named the 2024 Napa Valley Grower of the Year by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG). As President of Bettinelli Vineyards, Paul oversees the development and management of high-quality vineyards across the Napa Valley.

With more than 15 years of active membership with NVG, Goldberg has held various leadership positions, including serving on the NVG's board of directors for 8 years and as past board president. In addition to his contributions to NVG, Paul currently serves as President of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, where he has been a board member for 12 years.

Read More

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 at 9:30 AM. 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

The Winegrape Update - Pierce's Disease May 8, 2024 @ 3 PM

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.


May's agenda will focus on the Pierce’s Disease Control Program and their work and research to help growers. The discussion will include pests designated by the PD/GWSS Board as a threat to vineyards, continued treatment of the glassy-winged sharpshooter in various parts of the state, research being conducted to fight PD and other diseases and viruses in vineyards, and more.

Register Here.

eAlert: Crop Insurance Reminder - Contract Price Option

CAWG issued an eAlert earlier this week reminding growers to provide your winery contract(s) to your crop insurance provider if you’d like to apply them to your insurance policy. This is simply an option on your policy, and not a requirement. If you would like to move forward, your crop insurance provider will need your contracts and confirmation to proceed by Wednesday, May 15.

If you have general questions about winegrape crop insurance or this policy option, please reach out to CAWG and we can aid in getting you in contact with a certified crop insurance agent.  

Read the full eAlert with key details about the Contract Price Option here.

Industry News

California Grape Acreage Report - 2023 Summary

This week, the CA Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2023 California Grape Acreage Report summary.


California’s winegrape acreage is estimated to be 610,000, of which 40,000 acres are non-bearing. The leading varieties continue to be Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The detailed data of the report includes information about variety, and year planted, as voluntarily reported through a survey sent to 7,500 grape growers (all grapes).

The detailed data reflects vine removals from over 13,000 acres during the past twelve months. Of this number, significant acreage was harvested in 2023 prior to being pulled out. As a result, harvested acreage removed in 2023 is included in the estimated acreage for 2023, but excluded from the detailed data.

No Controversy - Sonoma County's Sustainability Commitment & Results Remain Unwavering and Unprecedented

On Sunday (4/21), the Press Democrat published an article on the front page questioning the status of the Sonoma County Winegrowers’ commitment to sustainability, focused mostly on growers' use of RoundUp. The Sonoma County Winegrowers published an article this week sharing that the county's winegrowers have an unwavering commitment to sustainability.

A decade ago, Sonoma County's 1800 grape growers pledged to achieve 100% certified sustainability in all vineyards, making Sonoma County the only wine region globally to achieve this feat. They've implemented over 44 best management practices for water conservation, reduced glyphosate use by 70%, developed a long-term agricultural preservation plan, established workforce housing for 40% of vineyard employees, and much more. Their commitment to sustainability sets a high standard for agriculture worldwide.

Read the full article written by past CAWG Director, Karissa Kruise, here.

Quote of the Week

"It would be nice if we could sum up sustainability with one word or one practice, but sustainability is complicated. It is a never-ending journey of learning, collaborating, and improving."

Karissa Kruse, President, Sonoma County Winegrowers

Vineyard Team Podcast: California's Ban on Autonomous Equipment

An antiquated California law makes using autonomous equipment in the vineyard challenging. Michael Miiller, CAWG's Director of Government Relations was a recent guest on Vineyard Team's podcast and explains that workplace safety standards developed in the 1970s based on 1940s equipment state that self-driven tractors must have an operator onboard.

CAWG is working closely with manufacturers and countries that allow autonomous equipment to aggregate data on safety to help update this law. Automation has many potential benefits to farm workers including developing transferable skills, upward mobility, precision agriculture, and increased safety. Listen to this podcast to learn about how the law works today and about funding opportunities to train staff.

Listen Here

CSWA Hosting In-Person Dry Farming Workshops

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance is hosting three upcoming Dry-Farming Workshops in Napa, Mendocino, and Paso Robles. The workshops will include a discussion and demonstration on establishing a dry-farmed vineyard in coastal regions. the program will include rootstock selection, land preparation, vine spacing, planting process, and watering regiment for the first two years.

Mendocino Workshop: Tuesday, May 14, 2024

8 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Pacini Vineyard

3150 Mill Creek Road 

Ukiah, CA 95482

Napa Workshop: Tuesday, May 21, 2024

8 a.m. - 11 a.m. 

Frog's Leap Winery

Rutherford, CA 94573

Field location: End of Galleron Lane (details sent after registration)

Paso Robles Workshop: Thursday, May 30, 2024

Tablas Creek Vineyard 

8 a.m. - 11 a.m. 

9339 Adelaida Road

Paso Robles, CA 93446

California Ag Leadership Program Launches New Column - Leadership Insights

In partnership with the Morning Ag Clips, the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation launched a new monthly column diving into the crucial facets of leadership within the agricultural sector, offering academic and agricultural leaders valuable perspectives and strategies.

The first edition, Belonging: Why Agricultural Leaders Should Pay Attention, focuses on how research has shown that cultivating belonging is good for business. The column offers practical tips and approaches that leaders can implement to enhance this sense of belonging among their teams.

Read More

California Farm Bureau's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Mentorship Program

The California Farm Bureau has recently launched the Expanding our Roots: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Mentorship Program. The mentorship program will provide 400 beginning farmers and ranchers (i.e. Mentees), including specialty crop growers, with 6-hours of no-cost mentoring services from farmers and ranchers with more than a decade of experience operating an agricultural production business in California.

200 mentees will be selected for each of the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Mentees will also have access to additional no-cost educational resources, including biannual workshops and annual subscriptions to the Ag Alert® weekly newspaper and Farm Bureau Extension classes. The goal of the mentorship program is to positively impact beginning farmer and rancher operations.

Learn more and enroll here.

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Climate Science Workshop

In this 30-person Climate Smart hybrid workshop hosted by Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Professor Drew Isaacs will share the history of climate change and the science behind changing climate and its impact. Brianna Beighle of Patz and Hall and UC Berkeley's School of Business will discuss how to prepare for the changes in our growing conditions and strategies growers can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the underlying causes of these impacts.

When and Where:

  • April 26, Napa

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

2024 UCCE Vineyard Irrigation and Nutrient Management Workshop

Join UCCE for a free workshop focused on vineyard irrigation, and nutrient management practices in the San Joaquin Valley. You will learn the irrigation and nutrient requirements of young and mature grapes to ensure healthier vine development, better resource utilization, and more resilient vineyards in the face of climate change. Growers, CCAs, and other agricultural professionals are encouraged to attend. Workshop attendees can request one-on-one assistance from a farm advisor. Registration is required.

When and Where:

  • May 2, Robert Cabral Agriculture Center, Stockton

Register Here

UC Davis Grape Day in Oakville

The Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis will host a Grape Day at the Oakville Station. Topics include:

  • Wild grapes as a reservoir of genetic diversity for the future of viticulture
  • Grapevine breeding at UC Davis
  • Is regenerative the path forward for winegrape production?
  • Use of weather information for addressing frost, heat, and spray drift risk
  • Effects of clone and rootstock on productivity and resilience: Early insights from the Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon rootstock trial
  • Working toward higher-resolution automated irrigation

When and Where:

  • June 5, 8 AM - 2 PM, Robert Cabral Agriculture Center, Oakville Station

Register Here

Vineyard Irrigation Masterclass

The Sonoma County Vineyard Technical Group along with Sonoma County Junior College (SRJC), Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, and Partners are hosting a Vineyard Irrigation Masterclass at SRJC's Shone Farm. This half-day program will provide innovative ideas and insights on mindful irrigation strategies. The program will explore a variety of topics, including:

  • The intersection and impact of site and rootstock selection on irrigation needs.
  • Techniques for irrigating to enhance wine quality.
  • Tools for monitoring irrigation demands.
  • Optimal timing for water application and strategies for water conservation.
  • Guidelines on application frequency and data interpretation.
  • Managing irrigation at remote locations.

When and Where:

  • June 6, 9:30 AM - 2:45 PM, Robert Cabral Agriculture Center, Oakville Station

Register Here



8 - The Winegrape Update

20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament


5 - West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit


21 - CAWG 50th Anniversary Celebration



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