March 16, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: 2023 CAWG Farm Bill Priorities
  • CAWG Advocacy Day Recap
  • Regional Wine Leadership Forum
  • CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament
  • Communicating Sustainably Webinar

Industry News:

  • SVB Collapse - What's Next?
  • Governor Issues Executive Order to use Floodwater to Recharge and Store Groundwater
  • Secretary Vilsack Testifies Before Senate Agriculture Committee
  • Final Grape Crush Report
  • Free Spotted Lanternfly Ad Images
  • Ciatti California Report March 2023
  • CA Employment Report

Upcoming Events

  • Adverse Effect Wage Rate Webinar
  • Handling OSHA Inspections in 2023
  • Certified California Sustainable Growing Webinar
  • What is the Future of Agriculture in California Summit

California Ag Day

March 21 - West Steps, State Capitol

Are you in Sacramento next week? Stop by the State Capitol from 10:30-1:30 to visit CAWG, as we co-host a booth with Wine Institute to highlight the sustainability efforts of the industry through the California Sustainable Wine Alliance! 


2023 CAWG Farm Bill Priorities

The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that is passed every five years by the United States Congress. It covers a wide range of agricultural and rural development policies, including crop insurance, commodity programs, conservation, nutrition assistance, research and development, and rural development programs. The Farm Bill has a significant impact on the U.S. agricultural industry and rural communities. The most recent Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, was signed into law in December 2018.

The Farm Bill, designed to support American farmers and ranchers, provides a safety net during times of economic uncertainty and promotes rural development and sustainability. It also includes provisions to help improve health and nutrition by funding programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

CAWG’s priorities in the 2023 Farm Bill include:

  • Mechanization and Automation Research: CAWG is advocating for the strengthening of research provisions geared towards new technologies, equipment, and systems that alleviate concerns with labor availability and vineyard access.

  • Crop Insurance and Disaster Assistance: The 2020 wildfires dealt a severe blow to growers, underscoring the crucial role of crop insurance. Although there is room for improvement in the program, it remains an essential safeguard against devastating financial losses. CAWG is committed to advocating for ongoing enhancements to the Federal crop insurance program and disaster relief funding.

  • Pest and Disease Investment: Our growers appreciate the level of support and attention given to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and pest and disease efforts in the previous Farm Bill. The allocated funds have been effective in addressing several critical issues that, without such support, could have had devastating consequences. Going forward, CAWG strongly advocates for continued emphasis on research and development, tools, and strategic measures to protect the agricultural industry from invasive pests and diseases.

  • Wildfire Smoke Research: There are always new research priorities that arise. The Farm Bill research title must provide access to funding for the industry to address emerging issues like the impact of wildfire smoke on winegrapes. 

2023 CAWG Advocacy Day Recap

CAWG’s 2023 Advocacy Day commenced amidst an Atmospheric River on Tuesday, March 14.

Despite the inclement weather conditions, CAWG members from throughout California gathered in Sacramento to unite their voices and advocate on behalf of the winegrape industry. CAWG's lobbying team headed by Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations, and Jack Gualco, The Gualco Group, Inc. planned an informative and engaging day with key legislators and top regulatory officials.

The morning program speakers included Jeanine Jones from the CA Department of Water Resources, Armand Feliciano representing CA FAIR Plan, Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains, and Robert Moutrie from the CA Chamber of Commerce.

Following a morning full of speakers and legislative priority briefings, CAWG Members met face-to-face with over 40 legislative offices to discuss CAWG’s priorities for the year ahead.

Lawmakers introduced over 2,600 bills this year, the highest number in over a decade. CAWG members utilized this opportunity to discuss the legislation that we are sponsoring and co-sponsoring.

  • SB 659 - Groundwater Recharge:  Introduced by Senator Ashby (D-Sacramento), the intent of this bill is to create the statutory framework and a statewide focus on the most impactful solution to address the water management challenges presented by climate change in California. With the impacts of climate change, a substantially increased groundwater supply is essential to create a reliable source of water. 
  • AB 54 - Research Funding: Winegrape and Smoke Exposure: With the unprecedented losses growers and wineries suffered in 2020 due to wildfire smoke, CAWG and Wine Institute are co-sponsoring AB 54 (Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters). Under this bill, CDFA would be instructed to allocate funds toward smoke research. These research dollars would facilitate efforts to explore the precise way of measuring smoke compounds, methods to mitigate the damage that can occur from exposure to smoke and methods to prevent smoke damage to winegrapes and wine.
  • SB 375 - COVID-19 Tax Credit: The intent of this bill, introduced by Senator Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson) would be to provide employers with financial relief from the cost of compliance with the new COVID-19 workplace safety standards that took effect on February 4. SB 375 would provide an annual credit against state payroll taxes to reimburse employers for costs such as testing, masking, ventilation systems, exclusion from work, and other pandemic-based regulatory compliance costs.

Special thank you to the sponsors that made Advocacy Day possible: Pan American, NAU Country, Allied Grape Growers, G3, Livermore Valley Wine Community, Farm Credit, and Vino Farms.

Regional Wine Leadership Forum Recap

The 2023 Regional Leadership Forum brought together 20+ regional winegrower and vintner associations from throughout the state to collaborate for a day of engaging opportunity.

CAWG hosted the event in partnership with Wine Institute. Natalie Collins, CAWG President welcomed the group along with Bobby Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO. Attendees learned about pressing topics from both the federal and state political climates. Smoke taint, autonomous equipment, the 2023 Farm Bill priorities for winegrapes, and invasive species including Spotted Lanternfly are just an overview of the topics covered.

CDFA Undersecretary Christine Birdsong and Congressman Doug LaMalfa both spoke to the group covering issues including the upcoming Farm Bill, disaster assistance, smoke research, crop insurance, and more!

Other speakers included Lynn Carpenter with Visit California, John Lambeth with Civitas, and speakers from both CAWG and Wine Institute staff.

The day ended with the Regional Leadership Roundtable where all participants had the chance to share updates from their regions to discuss accomplishments, challenges, and opportunities for the future.

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!

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 (CSWA), and Wine Institute on April 20.

You will receive 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!

Register Today

Industry News

SVB Collapse - What's Next?

As a key financial institution in the wine industry, the collapse of SVB has sent shockwaves throughout the California winegrape growing community. CAWG recognizes the potential impact this may have on its members and is taking steps to address their needs and concerns during this uncertain time. With a focus on supporting the sustainability and growth of the winegrape industry in California, CAWG remains committed to providing resources and assistance to its members.

Below are articles addressing SVB and its effects on the winegrape industry along with resources to help communicate with your employees.

Governor Issues Executive Order to use Floodwater to Recharge and Store Groundwater

As historic storms bring rain and snow to California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to enable local water agencies and other water users to capture water from the latest round of storms to recharge state groundwater supplies.

The order suspends regulations and restrictions on permitting and use to enable water agencies and water users to divert flood stage water for the purpose of boosting groundwater recharge. The order includes wildlife and habitat protections, ensuring that any diversions would not harm water quality or habitat or take away from environmental needs.

“California is seeing extreme rain and snow, so we’re making it simple to redirect water to recharge groundwater basins. This order helps us take advantage of expected intense storms and increases state support for local stormwater capture efforts," said Governor Newsom.

Executive Order

Secretary Vilsack Testifies Before Senate Agriculture Committee

Provided by: Cansler Consulting

Today, Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Secretary Vilsack set the stage as he outlined the challenges ahead for the Committee from his perspective. "Make no mistake, you have a very difficult job ahead of you in writing a farm bill. Crafting a farm bill is not an easy task, and it's particularly difficult in this day and age."

Vilsack expressed to Committee members that in order to turn around the exodus of those leaving rural America, "We have to figure out how we can create more revenue streams for farmers, particularly those small and midsize producers. We've got to figure out ways in which we can extend beyond the traditional role of farms benefiting from the sales of crops and livestock to figure out additional ways in which that farmstead can generate profits from multiple streams."

Interestingly, Vilsack brought with him to the Committee hearing the first (632-page) report of the Commissioner of Agriculture published in 1863, the first year of the Department of Agriculture's history. In it, Commissioner Isaac Newton had an interesting preface in which he talked about the importance of focusing on making sure that the U.S. maintained small, mid-size and large-scale farming operations. "So, we've had this issue since 1863," Vilsack said.

Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee John Boozman (R-AR) entered into the record of the hearing a letter from 400 farm groups that recently sent a letter to the House and Senate Budget committees urging them to provide sufficient funding to write a new farm bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the 10-year cost of the 2023 Farm Bill will be over $1.4 trillion. 82% of the total accounts for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

CA Grape Crush Final Report 2022

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service-Pacific Regional Office, released the California Grape Crush Final Report 2022


The 2022 crush (winegrapes) totaled 3,376,134 tons, down from the 2021 crush of 3,631,750 tons. Red wine varieties accounted for the largest share of all grapes crushed, at 1,902,044 tons, down 6.4% from 2021. White wine varieties crushed totaled 1,474,090 tons, down 7.9% from 2021. Average prices for the 2022 crop: red wine grapes, $1,169.90, up 9.0% from 2021; white wine grapes, $683.20, up 1.1% from 2021.


The Preliminary Grape Crush Report includes all grape tonnage crushed during the 2022 season. It also includes purchased tonnage and pricing information for grapes with final prices prior to Jan. 10, 2023.

Free Spotted Lanternfly Ad Images

The invasive spotted lanternfly hasn’t made it out West yet, but the more people on the lookout the better. Please help spread the word about this pest of grapevines so people learn what the pest looks like in its various life stages and what to do when they spot it. Download images from the California PD/GWSS Board's library of advertising images to use on your website, in your newsletter, and on social media.


Don’t see what you need? Contact the Pierce's Disease Control Program by email or by calling (916) 900-5024.

Ciatti California Report March 2023

February’s release of a smaller-than-anticipated 2022 crop figure has not stimulated an uptick in activity on California’s bulk wine and grape markets. Such hesitant activity after a fourth-successive sub-4-million-ton crop starkly illustrates the underlying demand weakness, which – to some extent – applies even in those areas that traditionally command the highest premium.

As of March 3, the state-wide snowpack was at 190% of normal and the area of California in some level of drought has reduced from 100% to 83%. While all of the rain is welcome, growers will soon be impatient to get into the vineyards to start work, and the present conditions could lead to delayed budbreak, pushing the growing timetable back as the soil takes time to warm up.  

More market information is available in the Ciatti California Report.

California Employment Report

The Center for Jobs and the Economy has released our initial analysis of the January Employment Report from the California Employment Development Department. 

California's reported unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) in January dipped to 4.2%. The December numbers show employment up 21,300 for the month. Unemployment rose 23,500. The labor force grew 44,700. The reported national numbers show the US unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) improved to 3.4% in January and edged down to 3.6% in February as the national labor force showed a strong gain of 1.3 million workers over the two months.  

With almost all of the other states paying off their pandemic debt—including use of federal pandemic assistance funds specifically earmarked for this purpose—the remaining debt essentially comes down to California and New York. At $18.6 billion as of March 7, California accounts for 69% of the total.

CA Employment Report

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Adverse Effect Wage Rate Webinar

The National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) is pleased to announce the next installment of its educational webinar series focusing on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new Adverse Effect Wage Rate regulation. The webinar will be moderated by Shawn Packer of JPH Law. Joining Shawn on the panel discussion will be Jeanne Malitz of MalitzLaw, Mark Martens of Agri-Placements International Inc., and Tom Bortnyk, JD, of MAS Labor.


  • March 21, 12:00 PM (PST)

Registration Information

Handling OSHA Inspections in 2023

Join members of Fisher Phillips’ Workplace Safety Team to learn about the latest methods for dealing with an OSHA inspection, including a discussion of how to limit the scope of OSHA’s inspection, responses to document requests, requests to interview employees, items OSHA focused on in the past year, current OSHA enforcement activity, and more.


  • March 23, 9:00 AM (PST)

Registration Information

Certified California Sustainable Growing Webinar

Register today for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) and Certification webinar to be held March 29, 2023, from 10 to 11 a.m. Participants will gain information on the SWP, learn how to complete a self-assessment using the online system and the steps required to become certified to Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing. Other helpful tools and resources will also be covered.


  • March 29, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM


What is the Future of Agriculture in California Summit

The Maddy Institute, in partnership with Climate Now and the Livermore Lab Foundation, will host a free virtual summit at the California State University, Fresno for 250 in-person attendees and many more virtual participants.

The summit will showcase a variety of diverse speakers including the Keynote Speaker, Karen Ross. The speakers will discuss critical concepts, opportunities, and challenges within agriculture and climate.


  • March 30, 8:30 AM, CSU Fresno and Virtual

Agenda and Registration Information



16 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament



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