March 30, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: FAIR Plan Coverage Limit Increased to $20 Million 
  • 2023 Job Killers
  • Washington D.C. Advocacy Trip
  • eAlert: Governor Newsom Eases Drought Restrictions
  • CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament
  • West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit
  • Down to Earth Month

Industry News:

  • Pierce's Disease Detected in Humboldt County Grapevines
  • State Water Board to Discuss Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Implementation
  • Information Webinar on Executive Order N-4-23: Flood Water and Groundwater Recharge
  • Curtailment Orders Rescinded for the Russian River Watershed
  • USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Farmers Impacted by Floods
  • USDA Announced Additional Assistance for Distressed Farmers Facing Financial Risk
  • California's Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California Introduces 'Slow Wine' Movement
  • California Wine Exports Resilient in Global Markets

Upcoming Events

  • Department of Labor Hosts New Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) Webinar
  • Communicating Sustainably Webinar
  • Napa Valley Grapegrowers Sustainable VIneyard Practices Seminar


FAIR Plan Coverage Limit Increased to $20 Million

New Policies Won’t be Available for Months 


Under pressure from lawmakers, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced this week he has reached an agreement with the California FAIR Plan Association to more than double FAIR Plan’s existing commercial coverage limits to $20 million. This would seem to be great news for growers who have been unable to find commercial property insurance policies that meet their needs.  


However, Lara’s office tempered enthusiasm warning that his office will need four months or more to review the new FAIR Plan insurance rates. This means that coverage under the new limit may not be available until October 2023 at the very earliest. 


This week’s agreement signed by Lara and FAIR Plan President Victoria Roach will increase the combined coverage limits for the FAIR Plan, under its Division I Commercial Property Program, from $8.4 million to $20 million per location and, under its Division II Businessowners Program, from $7.2 million to $20 million per location. 


“The FAIR Plan is committed to strengthening consumer choice in the voluntary insurance market and ensuring all Californians have access to basic property coverage,” said Roach. “We welcome the opportunity to continue collaborating with the Department of Insurance, the Legislature, and other stakeholders to restore a viable insurance market for all Californians regardless of where they reside.” 


The FAIR Plan is an association comprised of all insurers authorized to transact basic property insurance in California, and designed to be the state’s property “insurer of last resort,” writing coverage for businesses and residences when other insurance options are not available. The demand for FAIR Plan policies has grown due to increased premiums and deductibles and policy cancellations because of wildfire risks. Additionally, fewer insurance policy options are available because of the backlog at the Department of Insurance in approving rate filings by insurance companies.  

2023 Job Killers

If there was ever an indication that the pandemic is in the past for the legislature, lawmakers are back in full force pursuing legislation that is awful for California businesses And when overregulation causes businesses to close, jobs are lost. 


This week the California Chamber of Commerce released its 2023 “Job Killer” List. To date, the list includes 13 bills dealing with labor and employment issues, taxation, housing costs, and climate and energy policies. CalChamber expects several additions to the list in the coming weeks. 


Since 1997, CalChamber identified 824 bills as “job killers.” So far, only 59 of those have been signed into law. The 2023 CalChamber Job Killer List includes the following bills:



For more information on the 2023 Job Killer List, visit

Washington D.C. Advocacy Trip

A delegation of CAWG grower leaders and staff, led by Board Chair Tom Slater, a Clarksburg grower; John Chandler, a Central Valley grower and Chair of CAWG’s Federal and International Issues Committee; and Natalie Collins, CAWG President were in Washington, DC this week to meet with members of Congress, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, and other agricultural groups to advocate on behalf of winegrape growers. A few of the priority topics included the 2023 Farm Bill, appropriation requests, and labor and water challenges.

CAWG’s priorities include:


  • Seeking $5 million for smoke exposure research at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service through appropriations.
  • Advocating for continued exemption from the Food Safety Modernization Acts Produce Safety Rule and Water Rule.
  • Requesting continued adequate and consistent annual funding in support of the Specialty Crop Pest Program to combat and prevent pest infestations in vineyards, particularly in light of the increasing challenges and threat posed by the spotted lanternfly.

2023 Farm Bill

  • The strengthening of research provisions geared towards mechanization and automation for the development of new technologies, equipment, and systems that alleviate concerns with labor availability and vineyard access. CAWG supports the allocation of $20 million in annual mandatory spending to establish a new, standalone program that prioritizes mechanization and automation for specialty crops.
  • CAWG is advocating for the ongoing investment in the Federal crop insurance program and supports the development of a permanent natural disaster safety net program for agricultural producers.
  • Adjusting eligibility for specialty crop relief programs, including removing the adjusted gross income limitation of 75% or more of income is derived from farming operations.

See the April issue of The Crush for further details on CAWG’s Federal Advocacy Trip. 

eAlert: Governor Newsom Eases Drought Restrictions

On Friday, March 24, Governor Newsom issued a press release announcing the relaxation of drought restrictions.

WHAT TO KNOW: Climate change has made California’s dry and wet spells more extreme and unpredictable – after the three driest years on record, recent rain and snowfall have dramatically changed conditions in many parts of the state. The state has also advanced actions to boost storage and supply. Friday's action eases drought emergency provisions that are no longer needed while maintaining others to support impacted communities statewide.

Read Full eAlert

CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament

May 16 - Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa Valley

Don’t miss your chance to register for the CAWG Foundation’s 4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament. Last year’s tournament was a sold-out event!

The scholarship program is specifically for high school seniors whose parent/guardian(s) are employed by a CA winegrape grower. 

Tournament registration will begin at 8:30 AM. The tournament will begin at 9:30 AM with a shotgun start and 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. 

Register today!

Suggested Hotels

West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit

Save the date! The West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force is hosting its annual Smoke Summit on June 7 at 1:00 PM PST.

Leading researchers will present their latest findings and insights on smoke issues. Registration for the webinar is free.

*Agenda to follow.

Register today.

Down to Earth Month

Did you know April is Down to Earth Month? The California State Assembly adopted a Resolution in 2021 to officially declare April as "California Wines: Down to Earth Month."

Down to Earth Month is an ideal time to explore and celebrate California wines that are grown and made with sustainable practices.

From guided hikes to Earth Day Tasting Flights, California wineries celebrate throughout April with sustainably-focused in-person events, experiences, virtual events, and special offers.

Learn more about Down to Earth Month Events and follow CAWG on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to learn about CAWG members who are practicing sustainability methods.

Industry News

Pierce's Disease Detected in Humboldt County Grapevines

The following is a release from the Humboldt County Administrative Office:

Grape leaf samples taken by the Humboldt County Department of Agriculture have tested positive for Pierce’s disease (PD).

In late September, the Humboldt County Department of Agriculture submitted grape leaf samples to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) plant pathology lab to be tested for diseases. The samples were taken from domestic and wild grapevines from a small neighborhood located in Willow Creek.

Three samples tested by CDFA tested positive for PD, which is the first time this disease has been detected in Humboldt County. PD is catastrophic to grapevines as it clogs their water-conducting vessels known as xylem. PD is caused by a strain of the bacterium known as Xylella fastidiosa, a C-rated (widespread) pest in California.

The Department of Agriculture took additional grape leaf samples in the same area in November and a small number of those subsequent samples also tested positive for PD. Due to plant dormancy, the Department of Agriculture will conduct further research and take new samples with the spring bud break.

The Department of Agriculture is committed to protecting Humboldt County’s viticulture industry and continues to work to educate and assist growers in identifying and managing the disease as needed. As such, the Agriculture Department will host a meeting and Q&A session to address concerns surrounding PD. The meeting will be held at the Lower Trinity Ranger District Station, located at 580-CA 96 in Willow Creek, on Thursday, April 13 at 1 p.m.

Dr. Rodrigo Almeida, Hildebrand-Laumeister Chair in Plant Pathology at UC Berkeley, and an expert on the disease, will be the featured speaker at the meeting. Due to space constraints, the meeting is limited to 25 people. Reserving your space in advance is recommended. For more information and to RSVP, please contact David Juliano, Senior Agricultural Inspector, by email at

For more information on Pierce’s disease, please visit the following links:

State Water Board to Discuss Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Implementation

The State Water Board will be discussing the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) at its April 4, 2023, public Board Meeting.

During the Board Meeting, staff from the State Water Board and the Department of Water Resources will present:

  • The Department’s recent inadequacy determinations for six groundwater basins’ Groundwater Sustainability Plans, and
  • A general overview of the State Water Board’s process for state intervention under SGMA.

During the meeting, the Board will not take any formal actions related to SGMA. The public is invited to join the Board Meeting to share comments with Board Members. 

For more information and Agenda Information

Information Webinar on Executive Order N-4-23: Flood Water and Groundwater Recharge

California Department of Water Resources, State Water Resources Control Board, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife jointly hosted a webinar on the Executive Order N-4-23, related to flood water capture and groundwater recharge on March 23, 2023.

The webinar was recorded and included opening remarks, a presentation detailing the requirements of the Executive Order, and a question-and-answer period with participants. 

California Groundwater Recharge Information

Curtailment Orders Rescinded for the Russian River Watershed

This week the Deputy Director for the Division of Water Rights (Division) of the State Water Resources Control Board rescinded all curtailment orders issued pursuant to the drought emergency regulation in the Russian River watershed, effective immediately.

In June 2022, the Division issued “Orders Regarding Curtailment Status” to each water right holder in the Russian River watershed. The orders required water right holders to monitor a “Curtailment Status List” and stop or reduce diversions when the list showed their water right was curtailed. Following the Governor’s recent Executive Order (N-5-23), and in consideration of reservoir storage conditions and continued precipitation throughout the region, the curtailment orders are no longer needed in the Russian River Watershed.

As a result of this rescission, water right holders will no longer be subject to the curtailment requirements under the drought emergency regulation, such as checking curtailment status, restrictions on riparian diversions, and reporting for human health and safety exceptions. Please note that this rescission does not eliminate or pause ongoing or pending enforcement actions and related settlements.

Please contact the Division of Water Rights at or (916) 341-5318 for any questions or clarifications regarding this update.

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Farmers Impacted by Floods

California farms and ranches have been significantly impacted by the recent floods throughout the state. USDA has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover. Flood impacts are expected to last for months in some counties as additional precipitation is expected in the upcoming weeks. Producers should keep in contact with their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure, and livestock losses and damages.

“USDA stands ready to assist in the recovery from catastrophic flooding by helping farmers, livestock producers, landowners, and communities clean up and restore farmland, forests, and watersheds,” said Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC). “USDA employees are working diligently to deliver FPAC’s extensive portfolio of disaster assistance programs and services.”  

Eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for cost-share assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost. This complements the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program application must be filed within 90 days.

Producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or FSA’s NAP should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office. If they have crop insurance, producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days. For NAP-covered crops, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours.

USDA Announced Additional Assistance for Distressed Farmers Facing Financial Risk

USDA Announced this week that beginning in April it will provide approximately $123 million in additional, automatic financial assistance for qualifying farm loan program borrowers who are facing financial risk, as part of the $3.1 billion to help distressed farm loan borrowers provided through Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act. The announcement builds on financial assistance offered to borrowers through the same program in October 2022.

“In too many cases, the rules surrounding our farm loan programs may actually be detrimental to helping a borrower get back to a financially viable path. As a result, some are pushed out of farming and others stuck under a debt burden that prevents them from growing or reacting to opportunities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Loan programs for the newest and more vulnerable producers must be about providing opportunity and tailored to expect and manage stumbles and hurdles along the way. Through this assistance, USDA is focusing on generating long-term stability and success for distressed borrowers.” 

For More Information

California's Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California Introduces 'Slow Wine' Movement

In January, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture released the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California to chart the course for the state's transition to sustainable pest management in both agricultural and urban settings by 2050.

Many wine producers in California have already adopted organic growing methods and are now supporting the 'Slow Wine' movement and offshoot of the Slow Food Movement that began in Italy in 1989.

The US Slow Wine Guide matches eco-conscious wine producers with like-minded wine producers. It showcases wines produced in California, Oregon, Washington and New York.

Read More

California Wine Exports Resilient in Global Markets

California wine producers maintained momentum as recent data from the Wine Institute shows the state's wines continue to perform in global export markets. Total U.S. wine exports in 2022 reached $1.463 billion, a slight increase of 0.4% in value from the previous year.

Despite a challenging market environment coupled with a strong dollar, California wines showed impressive growth in several key markets. Japan, South Korea and Mexico were standout performers, with growth rates of 28%, 18% and 25%, respectively. The European Union and its 27 member states saw strong performance with growth rates of over 8%. Those four large regions represent more than 30% of the global market share and have become increasingly important for California wines.

Read More

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Department of Labor Hosts New Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) Webinar

The Department of Labor's Office of Foreign Labor Certification will be hosting a webinar regarding the new AEWR Rule. The goal is to provide an opportunity to familiarize interested stakeholders with the regulatory changes and discuss the methodology behind the new AEWR rule and prepare examples of how it will be applied.


  • April 4, 3:00 PM, ET

Join from the meeting link:

Join by meeting number: 

Meeting number (access code): 2763 980 8196 Meeting password: 2023AEWR

Tap to join from a mobile device: 1-877-465-7975, # US Toll Free +1-210-795-0506, # US Toll

Join by phone: 1-877-465-7975 US Toll Free 1-210-795-0506 US Toll

Join from a video system or application: Dial

You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

Communicating Sustainably Webinar

Do you struggle to communicate your sustainability efforts? Register today for this virtual webinar during Down to Earth Month. The webinar is hosted by CAWG, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, and Wine Institute.

The webinar will provide ideas and tips to integrate sustainability into your communications with consumers, trade, and media while gaining insights on the market for sustainably. Attendees will be the first to receive a communications training guide to jump-start their sustainability communications strategy!


  • April 20, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM


Napa Valley Grapegrowers Sustainable Vineyard Practices Seminar

The Sustainable Vineyard Practices seminars are held in partnership with the Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group and the University of California Cooperative Extension. This series is for vineyard owners, growers, viticulturists, winemakers, and vineyard managers striving to increase quality and sustainability in the vineyard. This second session will focus on vineyard development and irrigation plans in a changing climate.


  • April 26, 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM, Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center and Zoom

Agenda and Registration Information



16 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament


7 - West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit



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