March 2, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: Capturing Rainwater
  • Last Chance - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline
  • Running Naked (Uninsured)
  • 2023 CAWG Advocacy Day
  • CAWG Foundation Reception
  • Advertise in CAWG's Annual Supplier Directory
  • AB 54 - Research Funding: Winegrapes and Wine Smoke Exposure

Industry News:

  • California’s 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations
  • Winegrape Legend and Long-time CAWG Member Angelo Sangiacomo Passes Away
  • Uncertainty, Inflation, Regulations: Challenges for American Agriculture - Full Committee on Agriculture Hearing
  • USDA Offers Flood Impacted CA Farmers and Ranchers Immediate Disaster Assistance
  • 2022 Census of Agriculture

Upcoming Events

  • San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers 2023 Grower Education Series
  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Off-Campus Programs
  • FELS AB 2183 Card Check Training
  • California Competes Tax Credit Webinar
  • Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)

LAST CHANCE: CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline - March 4!

Each year the Foundation awards three 4-year scholarships and three 2-year scholarships to high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower. 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).

The application deadline is Saturday, March 4! Encourage your high school seniors to apply today!

A Foundation Reception will be held on March 14 benefiting the scholarship program. More details can be found below.


Capturing Rainwater

The recent series of storms has increased public awareness and focus on the need to capture the water that comes with these atmospheric rivers. Over the last 100 years, as California has become more developed, flood protection has diverted stormwater into streams and rivers. This results in stormwater that might have naturally recharged groundwater basins, flowing out to the Pacific Ocean instead.   


As climate change experts predict reduced ability to rely on the snow cap, California’s reliance on groundwater has increased. This has sounded the alarm among experts who monitor groundwater statewide. Those experts are saying we need to act immediately to increase the recharge of groundwater.   


“The risk of running low on critical water if we do not do this is 100 percent,” says Andrew Fisher, who runs the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Recharge Initiative, which studies groundwater resources. “It is a stone-cold guarantee that if we do not put massive amounts of water underground, we are not going to solve this problem.”   


Historically, when California runs low on water, growers are the first to see substantial water supply curtailment. CAWG is sponsoring SB 659 (Ashby) to create 10 million acre-feet of groundwater recharge annually.  This new supply of groundwater is easily attainable through the implementation of shovel-ready groundwater recharge projects.   


CAWG is working with our ag industry partners, water suppliers, state agencies, and nonprofit environmental organizations to create a diverse coalition that can help this new legislation become law.   

Running Naked (Uninsured)

This week, the Senate Insurance Committee held a public hearing to discuss the challenges commercial and residential consumers are experiencing in obtaining property insurance. The committee published a briefing paper that provided a very high-level review of the situation. While holding a hearing is a small step in the right direction, the problem is quickly approaching a crisis level and needs more attention than a two-hour hearing and a 3.5-page briefing document. 

Two weeks ago, Insurance Business America (IBA) reported, “major insurers such as Farmers had recently updated their modeling programs for determining wildfire risk, and thus have been retreating from the market.” Additionally, IBA reported in January that the reinsurance market is shrinking for California insurance companies. Many reinsurers “are raising prices, limiting coverage and even exiting some markets to improve returns.” Reinsurance is essentially insurance for insurance companies to help cover potential losses down the road. California FAIR Plan is intended to be an insurer of last resort. But in a market where the availability of insurance is declining so rapidly, FAIR Plan has become the only option for many seeking insurance. 

Peter Nissen, Nissen Vineyards and President of the Napa County Farm Bureau testified at the hearing and discussed the need for insurance and the unavailability of insurance for many growers and wineries. Victoria Roach, President of California FAIR Plan, testified at the hearing and offered a dire assessment of their financial situation. Nonetheless, the legislature is attempting to make things even more challenging for FAIR Plan by requiring them to cover properties having cannabis on the premises. This is a problem for the FAIR Plan because they cannot buy reinsurance for those policies.

The Senate Insurance Committee briefing paper concluded, “While nonrenewal moratoriums and other measures passed by the Legislature, combined with actions taken by the CDI [California Department of Insurance] and the industry, can provide market stability in the short term, they may not provide a longer term solution to California’s insurance affordability and availability challenges and insurers facing rising costs may eventually exit the market.” 

In other words, property insurance is going away, and the legislature currently has no viable or meaningful solutions.  

2023 CAWG Advocacy Day - March 14

A key benefit to CAWG membership is the opportunity to participate in advocacy efforts in Sacramento.

This involves face-to-face meetings with key legislators, staff, and regulators. You are invited, to join fellow growers and industry leaders, for a day of grassroots lobbying in Sacramento at the Sutter Club.

CAWG's lobbying team headed by Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations, and Jack Gualco, The Gualco Group, Inc. are planning an informative day for you with key legislators and top regulatory officials.

Advocacy Day is your opportunity to talk with and educate key policymakers about important issues affecting your business. The day will begin with breakfast and a program with key speakers, followed by legislative visits.

If you are interested in sponsoring Advocacy Day please contact Jenny Devine.

Register for Advocacy Day

CAWG Foundation Reception

Following Advocacy Day on March 14, CAWG invites you to a reception at The Gualco Group, Inc. office benefiting the CAWG Foundation.

The CAWG Foundation was started as an expression of gratitude to the employees who help make the winegrape and wine community a special part of California culture. Since the program’s inception in 1998, the CAWG Foundation has awarded $554,500 in scholarships to help students pursue higher education. Generous donations from CAWG members and the California wine community fund the scholarship program.

The CAWG Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-deductible organization.

If you are interested in sponsoring the CAWG Foundation Reception, please contact Jenny Devine.

Register for the CAWG Foundation Reception.

Advertise in CAWG's Annual Membership Directory

The 2023 digital Membership Directory provides an opportunity for additional exposure to the winegrape industry.

This annual 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 the extended deadline of March 15.

Contact Mindy DeRohan.

AB 54 - Research Funding: Winegrapes and Smoke Exposure

CAWG and Wine Institute are co-sponsoring AB 54 (Aguiar-Curry, D-Winers) which would require the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to provide funding for smoke research. This will fund efforts to investigate the accurate measurement of smoke compounds in winegrapes and wine, methods to mitigate the damage to winegrapes and wine that can occur from exposure to smoke, and methods to prevent smoke damage to winegrapes and wine.

Heavy smoke from California's wildfires has engulfed vineyards throughout California. When winegrapes are exposed to wildfire smoke, the smoke is absorbed by the fruit creating smoke taint, which can be problematic for winegrape growers. Winegrape growers are looking for the state to invest in research to determine which grapes have been damaged, what levels of smoke can sustain before they are damaged and whether there are any ways to prevent smoke taint.

AB 54 would also require CDFA to establish an advisory committee of specified members appointed by the secretary to provide recommendations to the secretary for funding research proposals submitted to the department under these provisions.

The bill, as currently written, would ask the legislature set aside $5 million in the state budget for this research. This is Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry's second attempt at this type of legislation.

Industry News

California’s 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations

CDFA has submitted California’s 2023 Farm Bill recommendations which reflect the participation and input of more than 100 diverse stakeholder organizations, gathered through five statewide public listening sessions as well as various individual submissions and additional contributions from our partner state government agencies.


"Without exception, we received strong support for keeping the nutrition title as part of the Farm Bill. Additionally, we consistently heard about the importance of supporting economic opportunities for agriculture and rural communities, as well as opportunities to improve the health of farmworkers, agricultural communities and the environment while supporting the nutrition of all Americans," said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. "The recommendations reflect the scope of California’s agricultural diversity and the themes shared by the organizations and individuals who participated in the process."


The full document includes detailed recommendations under these subjects:


• Robust funding for food and nutrition programs

• Expanding conservation programs and climate and ecosystem investments

• Ensuring equity and accessibility

• Managing risk, including disasters due to climate volatility, by ensuring access 

to the farm safety net

• Safeguarding marketing and trade programs, including specialty crops

• Strengthening national security through animal and plant health programs

• Investing in research

• Investing in sustainable pest management to better protect the health of 

farmworkers, agricultural communities, and the environment

• Supporting organic agriculture

• Maintaining forest health

Winegrape Legend and long-time CAWG Member Angelo Sangiacomo Passes Away

Angelo Sangiacomo, winegrower and a founding partner of Sangiacomo Family Vineyards, a third-generation family business in Sonoma, passed away on Monday, February 27, 2023. 

Angelo spent his entire life in Sonoma County except for his college years at the University of California, Davis, where he studied viticulture and pomology. He oversaw the expansion of Sangiacomo Family Vineyards to its current status as one of California's largest family-owned, winegrowing businesses with more than 1,600 acres of vineyards in Sonoma County. The family continued to enhance his legacy with the launch of their namesake wine brand in 2016.

Angelo was most proud of transitioning the family business to the next generation, just as his parents had done for himself and his three siblings. Today, Angelo's three children, Mike, Steve, and Mia (Pucci) Sangiacomo run Sangiacomo Family Vineyards.

Angelo and Sangiacomo Family Vineyards are long-time members of CAWG along with many other agricultural organizations. The Sangiacomo's have always stepped up to support CAWG efforts in representing grower interests in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Angelo helped pioneer the creation of California vineyard-designated and single-vineyard wines. The 1979 Gundlach-Bundschu Chardonnay Sangiacomo Vineyards was amongst the first Californian wines to carry a vineyard designation on its wine label. Angelo was instrumental in establishing the Carneros and Sonoma Valley viticultural appellations. He served on the boards of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance, the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, and many more.

He loved the agricultural life, working alongside his family while following his entrepreneurial spirit. As he reflected on his life towards the end, he was quoted as saying, "If I had the choice, I'd do it all over again the same."

Uncertainty, Inflation, Regulations: Challenges for American Agriculture - Full Committee on Agriculture Hearing

Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, delivered the following closing remarks earlier this week at the full committee hearing entitled, “Uncertainty, Inflation, Regulations: Challenges for American Agriculture.”

"Today’s hearing has really shined a spotlight on the issues confronting producers and the entire agriculture sector from the farm to the consumer.

"Whether it is market volatility, weather risks, or wrongheaded government policy—much of which has been exacerbated by the Biden Administration—the House Committee on Agriculture has a responsibility to examine these challenges and develop responsible approaches to addressing them in the upcoming Farm Bill.

"Over the course of the next several months, the Committee will be holding numerous hearings and will be continuing our Farm Bill listening sessions at various locations across the country.

"I’d like to challenge my fellow Committee Members to be present and heavily engaged in this process.

"Getting the farm bill done right and on time will require a lot of work and attention from all of us, but we owe it to all our constituents—from producers to processors, and ultimately, to consumers—to get that policy right."

The hearing was live-streamed and the recording can be viewed online.

USDA Offers Flood Impacted CA Farmers and Ranchers Immediate Disaster Assistance

California Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist in recovery efforts following recent heavy rains and flooding.

Available programs and loans include:

  • Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) - provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters including excessive wind and qualifying drought.
  • Tree Assistance Program (TAP) – provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub, and vine losses due to natural disaster
  • Emergency Loan Program – available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation.
  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) - provides emergency funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters; includes fence loss.

For more information on these programs, contact your county's USDA Service Center or visit

2022 Census of Agriculture

If you have not already responded to USDA’s 2022 Census of Agriculture, it’s not too late!

The agriculture census is taken only once every five years and USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service has extended the data collection deadline for the 2022 Census of Agriculture through the spring. Census data inform decisions about policy, farm and conservation programs, infrastructure, rural development, and more. 

The ag census includes every operation – large or small – from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or would normally have been produced and sold, in the ag census year. 

The census can be completed online at

Upcoming Events and Trainings

San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers 2023 Grower Education Series

San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers are holding the first class of their 2023 Grower Education Series. The Grower Education Series is free for all members and $20 for non-members.

Speakers include:

  • Opportunities for On-Farm Groundwater Recharge - Wendy Rah, State Water Quality Specialist, USDA-NRCS
  • Challenges for Weed Management During a WET Year - John Roncoroni, UCCE Farm Advisor Emeritus
  • Vineyard Water Management after a Wet Winter - Goerge Zhuang, UCCE Fresno County Viticulture Farm Advisor


  • March 8, 2023, 9 AM, Virtual

Register for Session

UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Off Campus Programs

The UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Extension and Industry Relations Program is going "On The Road" in Tulare, Mendocino, and San Joaquin Counties. During these education seminars, UC Davis will present research currently being done and discuss issues that are important to the winegrape and wine industry.


  • March 9, 2023, 9 AM, Lodi Grape Festival Grounds

Registration Information

FELS AB 2183 Card Check Training

Farm Employee Labor Service is hosting FREE AB 2183 Card Check in-person trainings. Learn more about the opportunities below.

How to Prepare for Card Check

This in-person seminar by Barsamian and Moody, Attorneys at Law, will walk through the statutory changes to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, including what is card check, labor peace elections, the administrative penalties, and appeal bond requirements in the new law. The seminar is intended for owner-operators, managers, human resources personnel, and farm labor contractors (FLCs). FLC representatives are encouraged to attend. 



  • March 3, 2023, 10 AM, Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Register Here

California Competes Tax Credit Webinar

The next California Competes Tax Credit application period starts Monday, March 6, 2023, with at least $99.7 million in available tax credits. Businesses interested in applying can register to view a live webinar explaining the application process.


The online application can be accessed starting March 6, 2023 and the deadline to submit applications is Monday, March 20, 2023. To apply visit  

Upcoming Webinars:

Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)

The UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology will present "Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)." The seminar provides the opportunity for active participants in the wine and winegrape industry to hear researchers discuss their latest projects and ongoing research in an open forum where discussion is encouraged.

Registration closes on March 12.


  • March 15, UC Davis Conference Center

Agenda and Registration Information

SAVE THE DATE - CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament

May 16 - Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa Valley

Join the CAWG Foundation for our 4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament. The scholarship program is specifically for high school seniors whose parent/guardian(s) are employed by a CA winegrape grower. 

Register today!



4 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline

14 - 2023 CAWG Advocacy Day

14 - CAWG Foundation Reception


16 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament



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