April 6, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Lead Story: CAWG Mourns Passing of Founding Member Al Scheid
  • Increasing Public Review of Regulations
  • Musical Chairs
  • CAWG April Issue of The Crush Newsletter
  • CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament
  • Nominations open for the 2024 Awards of Excellence Program
  • Lodi District Grape Growers Association Business and Economic Forum

Industry News:

  • Findings from the Safety for Emerging Robotics and Autonomous Agriculture Workshop
  • American Society For Enology and Viticulture National Conference
  • Curtailment Orders Rescinded for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Watershed
  • Just Announced: Grapevine Insurance Program Offered Through Federal Crop Insurance
  • USDA Asks Americans to Protect Plants by Looking for Invasive Pests in April
  • North Coast Vintners Slow the Brisk Grape Buying Activity to Gauge 2023 Crop Size
  • $1 Billion Available to Help Farmers Invest in Renewable Energy
  • Vine Mealybug Infecting Oregon Vineyards

Upcoming Events

  • SBE Hosts Fireside Chat on the Closure of Silicon Valley Bank and Economic Impact
  • AgTec Summit
  • Communicating Sustainably Webinar
  • Napa Valley Grapegrowers Sustainable Vineyard Practices Seminar

Follow us on Social Media!

Did you know April is 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.

Learn more about Down to Earth Month Events this month and follow CAWG on FacebookLinkedInand Twitter to learn about CAWG members who are practicing sustainability methods in their vineyards.


CAWG Mourns Passing of Founding Member Al Scheid

CAWG founding member, Alfred 'Al' Scheid passed away on March 31 at the age of 91.

Al was a Harvard Business School graduate, an investment banker, and an entrepreneur when he first bought land in Monterey County in early 1972. For the next 15 years, he operated Monterey Farming Corporation, a partnership that sold bulk wine to large wineries. By the early 1990s, he had bought out the last of his original limited partners and acquired an additional vineyard.

Al’s leadership legacy is that of a visionary pioneer. CAWG and the California Grape Crush report exist, in part, because of his work and influence. Al was a founding member of CAWG in 1974 and served on the Board of Directors for the next 12 years, including as chair from 1978-1979. For his exceptional leadership and the significant impact he had on California's wine industry, Al was awarded one of CAWG's most prestigious honors in 2017, the Leader of the Year award.

“Al's visionary leadership and dedication to excellence have set a high standard for all of us in the industry to aspire to. His contributions to the winegrape industry were immeasurable and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of winegrowers and leaders,” said Natalie Collins, CAWG President. “The winegrape industry has lost a true champion, and Al Scheid will be deeply missed.”

Press Release

Increasing Public Review of Regulations

In 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted its “Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness” regulation. When doing so, the board woefully underestimated how broadly the regulation would be applied. The board assumed it would have only a minor effect on the industry.


Because the public was not afforded an opportunity to formally provide independent and verifiable information early in the regulatory process, the board moved the regulation along without having complete or accurate information. The board eventually found itself in a position where it would need to start the regulatory process all over again to correct its fiscal analysis. Consequently, that proposed regulation became law even though the fiscal analysis was woefully inaccurate.


To address this type of problem, Senator Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks) is authoring SB 279 to assure the public would have an opportunity at the beginning of the regulatory process to provide valuable input, data, cost estimates, and economic impact statements.  Additionally, upon completion of the fiscal analysis, SB 279 gives the public 30 days to review and comment on that analysis. 


Inadequate fiscal analyses are found far too often in proposed environmental regulations, labor regulations, and much more. CAWG supports SB 279 to provide for greater public participation and review of proposed regulations.

Musical Chairs

When the legislature starts its two-year session, there can be no doubt that a few of those 120 lawmakers will fail to serve their full term of office. It happens almost every legislative session. 

Most recently, for example, in January 2022, then-Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) announced she was resigning from office to accept a position heading up the California Labor Federation. Whenever a legislative seat is vacant, a special election is then held to elect someone to complete that term in office.

Lorena Gonzalez’s husband Nathan Fletcher may be turning on the music for 2023’s game of musical chairs. Fletcher is a San Diego County supervisor who recently announced he is running for Senate to replace Toni Atkins who terms out in 2024. However last week, Fletcher surprisingly suspended his Senate race and then quickly announced he will resign from his position as supervisor

His vacant seat on the Board of Supervisors can be filled by appointment or special election. If the board decides to hold a special election, at least one of the seven lawmakers from San Diego would likely run for supervisor. 

The music may also be warming up in Los Angeles County where LA City Councilman Mark Ridley Thomas was forced from office because he was recently convicted of federal bribery and fraud charges. It is unclear whether there will be a special election to fill that vacant seat. But if that happens, there will no doubt be a few legislators lining up to run for that office.

If a legislator(s) runs for the positions in San Diego or Los Angeles and wins, there would be an immediate vacancy (or vacancies) in the legislature which would be filled by a special election(s).  And the music plays on.

CAWG April Issue of The Crush Newsletter

Earlier today, the April issue of The Crush Newsletter was released.


  • Feature Story: Water Use and Reuse for Irrigation
  • Federal Focus: CAWG Delegation Advocates for Winegrape Growers in Productive Washington, D.C. Trip
  • State Update: Water Water Everywhere
  • Workplace Violence Legislation in Conflict
  • CAWG Mourns the Passing of Al Scheid
  • Call for Nominations - 2024 Awards of Excellence
  • Final Grape Crush Report
  • CAWG State Advocacy Day Recap
  • 2023 CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament
  • Winners Announced For 9th Annual CA Green Medal Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards
  • Regional Wine Leadership Forum Recap
  • April is Down to Earth Month
  • Grapevine Insurance Program Offered
  • CA Ag Leadership Program Accepting Applications

Read April Issue

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

Nominations Open 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. 

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.

Nominations are due by June 9, 2024!

The CAWG Awards of Excellence reception will be held on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, during the opening night of the 2024 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium held in Sacramento.



For more information and to view past award recipients, please visit the CAWG website. For questions, contact Natalie Collins, President.

Lodi District Grape Growers Association Business and Economic Forum

The business of winegrape growing was the theme for the Lodi District Grape Growers Association's (LDGGA) Business and Economic Forum held earlier this morning at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds.

After a welcome from Amy Blagg, LDGGA Executive Director and CAWG Board Member, Natalie Collins, CAWG President, and Natalie Wymer from the Wine Institute talked about the big picture of California wine and the impact that it has on the state. The California wine industry generates around $73 billion annually for the state's economy and $170.5 billion for the national economy. The team shared more data on the economic impact of California wine. The team shared data on the economic impact generated by San Joaquin County winegrape and wine activity and how their region fits into the overall state picture. The Economic Impact Report, commissioned by CAWG and Wine Institute, provides data by state, county, congressional district, state assembly district, and state senate district.

Other speakers included Adam Beckman and Josh Cheney from American Ag Credit, Jeff Bitter and Kyle Collins from Allied Grape Growers, Daniel Meza from F&M Bank, Tyler Blagg and Joe Peterson from Peterson & Company and a grower panel moderated by Stuart Spencer from the Lodi Winegrape Commission.

Industry News

Findings from the Safety for Emerging Robotics and Autonomous Agriculture Workshop

American Society For Enology and Viticulture National Conference

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) is hosting its annual conference June 26-29 at the Napa Valley Marriott. The 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.

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.

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

Curtailment Orders Rescinded for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Watershed

The Division of Water Rights of the State Water Resources Control Board rescinded all orders imposing water right curtailment and reporting requirements (curtailment and reporting orders) issued pursuant to the emergency curtailment and reporting regulation for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) watershed (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 23, § 876.1 et seq.) effective immediately.  

The curtailment and reporting orders imposed reporting requirements and required water rights holders and claimants to monitor the Delta Drought website and cease diversions when the Delta Watershed Curtailment Status List showed their right or claim was curtailed. Following the Governor’s recent Executive Order N-5-23, and in consideration of reservoir storage conditions and continued precipitation throughout the Delta watershed, the curtailment and reporting orders are no longer needed. 

As a result of this recission, water right holders and claimants will no longer be subject to curtailment requirements under the drought emergency regulation for the Delta Watershed. This includes checking curtailment statuses, enhanced reporting for larger rights and claims, and reporting for human health and safety exceptions. Pending requests for an exception to curtailment are similarly no longer necessary and are now considered closed. Please note that this recission does not eliminate ongoing or pending enforcement actions for past violations and related settlements. 

Please contact the Division of Water Rights at Bay-Delta@waterboards.ca.gov or (916) 319-0960 if you have any questions.

Just Announced: Grapevine Insurance Program Offered Through Federal Crop Insurance

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) has approved the Grapevine Insurance Program for implementation in select states and counties. This program is designed to cover the total loss or destruction of a vine; partial losses are not covered. This will be a subsidized program, like the existing grape crop insurance program.

In California, grapevine coverage will be offered in the following counties: Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. Losses caused by freeze, hail, flood, fire, and failure of irrigation supply due to a natural event are all included. Additional information on the program, including deadlines for coverage, policy application paperwork, and rating details will be released at a later time for crop insurance agents to administer to growers.

This program was developed by AgriLogic Consulting, LLC. They have been contracted by the FCIC Risk Management Agency to complete more than 70 projects. In late 2020 they initiated the research and development of the Grapevine Insurance Program. Additional information can be found on their website: Grapevine - AgriLogic Consulting.

If you have questions or would like to be contacted when the program is fully released, please reach out to your crop insurance agent. The team at Pan American Insurance Services can also assist: cawgmember@relationinsurance.com.

CAWG and Pan American will be partnering on a webinar with more information this fall.

USDA Asks Americans to Protect Plants by Looking for Invasive Pests in April

Excerpt from USDA Press Release.

The USDA is declaring April 2023 Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month (IPPDAM). This national outreach month is dedicated to highlighting the impact of invasive plant pests and diseases on plants nationwide and informing Americans how they can help reduce their spread. IPPDAM aims to raise public awareness about the threat and how U.S. residents can help protect U.S. resources from hungry pests.

“Each year, invasive insects and plant diseases cause an estimated $40 billion in damages to plants that sustain us,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Invasive species threaten our food security, agricultural livelihoods, and way of life. Luckily, there’s a lot we can do to protect our resources. This spring, familiarize yourself with the invasive pest quarantines in your area and do your part to avoid inadvertently moving invasive insects and plant diseases to new areas.”

“Many invasive plant pests and diseases are natural hitchhikers and can be hard to see. It’s all too easy to unintentionally move them to new areas, said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Moffitt. “Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month is a reminder to all of us to limit the spread of plant pests and diseases.”

Read more on how to protect domestic plant health.

North Coast Vintners Slow the Brisk Grape Buying Activity to Gauge 2023 Crop Size

California grapevines have experienced a longer, colder, wetter season than they have for years.

What does that mean for fruit buyers? The North Bay Business Journal reports that the dry spell from the past three years bought out buyers of 2023 season fruit even as fruit for last year’s vintage had barely arrived at wineries, according to local growers and grape brokers. But amid multi-year deal-making to lock in supply and price for sometimes scarce in-demand varieties, growers face mounting farming-cost inflation that is prompting some renegotiations of purchase contracts.

Duff Bevill from Bevill Vineyard Management and current CAWG Board of Director said, "the colder weather this winter plus the rain storms have not only filled up private and public reservoirs in the region but also filled the ground with cold moisture that has kept the vines dormant longer. One of the worries about vine activity earlier in the season is that vine shoots and later flowers necessary for determining the crop size could be damaged by frost events in spring.

"If the days get warmer and drier, estimates are for the bloom stage of vine seasonal growth could arrive in mid-to-late May. Wind and rain can disrupt vine flower self-pollination during bloom, and that can result in a smaller “set” for the crop or fewer grape clusters that will form per shoot," Bevill continues.

Read More

$1 Billion Available to Help Farmers Invest in Renewable Energy

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is currently accepting applications for $1 billion in grants to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses invest in renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. USDA is making the $1 billion in grants available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), with funding from President Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis.

“Supporting renewable energy and energy-saving systems helps the people of rural America create thriving, livable communities,” Vilsack said. “When we invest in rural communities, we are supporting hard work that sends a ripple effect across our country. Clean energy is critical to the future of our economy, and the Inflation Reduction Act provides the Biden-Harris Administration with the resources to build a more prosperous rural America while tackling the climate crisis and lowering energy costs.”

Read more

Vine Mealybug Infecting Oregon Vineyards

Oregon winegrowers thought they’d dodged the vine mealybug bullet. However, recent studies prove otherwise. This small bug wreaking havoc in California now threatens its northern neighbor.

A recent Oregon Wine Symposium presentation by Dr. Vaughn Walton, entomologist at Oregon State University (OSU), outlined Oregon’s bout with the bug. Vaughn studied vine mealybug in his native South Africa before decamping to California to fight it. Fifteen years ago, he moved to Oregon to escape it. Or so he thought.

“The problem here in Oregon is that we think we’re insulated from the problem,” explained Walton. “We think that we have a climate that is not suitable for vine mealybug.”

However, studies by Walton and his colleagues dispute this misconception. Vine mealybugs prove subterranean. This means that they thrive below ground, where soil conditions remain stable, regardless the climate above ground.

Now with the pest discovered, the state is working on a prevention and management strategy.

Read more

Upcoming Events and Trainings

SBE Hosts Fireside Chat on the Closure of Silicon Valley Bank and Economic Impact

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University is excited to announce an SBE Fireside Chat via Zoom which will address the fallout and economic impacts resulting from the closure of Silicon Valley Bank.


The informative session will be moderated by SBE faculty member, Professor of Economics, Robert Eyler, and presented by Associate Professor of Economics, Puspa D. Amri. The duo will delve into the history of bank runs, interest rate risk, banking regulations, regional banking, and herd behavior, providing attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the situation. The discussion will also cover the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, its effects on local and global banking institutions, supervisory agency responses, and the emerging regulatory landscape for the banking sector.


  • April 7, 9 AM, Virtual


AgTEC Summit

The Fresno Merced Future of Food (F3) workforce partners are hosting the AgTec Summit - Skills for the Workforce of the Future. F3’s AgTEC workforce initiative brings together industry needs, worker voice, and the education sector to train the workforce of the future.


This free event will kick off with welcome remarks from California Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development, Stewart Knox and Christine Birdsong, Undersecretary Birdsong of the California Department of Food & Agriculture.


  • April 20, 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM, Saroyan Theater, Fresno


Communicating Sustainability 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


13 - CAWG Annual Meeting (Virtual)



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