May 11, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • Last Chance! CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament
  • Lead Story: Group Think in Sacramento
  • End of Public Health Emergency
  • Al Scheid Celebration of Life
  • CAWG May Issue of The Crush Newsletter
  • Nominations Open for CAWG's 2024 Grower and Leader of the Year

Industry News:

  • Governor Newsom Announces New Flood Investment Proposals
  • Grape Crush Reports Are Essential for U.S. Wine Industry Growth - Here's Why
  • Wildfire Prevention Resources
  • Four Challenges That Will Shape the Next Farm Bill - And How the U.S. Eats
  • California's Historic Snowpack is Melting... What's Next?
  • Damp Drinking - What is it?
  • EU Pesticide Policies Impact on U.S. Exports Webinar Recording

Upcoming Events

  • Integrating Mechanization Workshop
  • The Farm Bill: Where are we now? Webinar
  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology - Office Hours with Dave and Anita
  • West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit
  • CAWG 401K Multiple Employer Plan & CalSavers Webinar
  • American Society For Enology and Viticulture National Conference

REMINDER - Applications Due Tomorrow for CAWG's Summer Internship Opportunity

CAWG is accepting applications for a summer intern. This internship is an opportunity for students or recent graduates who are seeking hands-on experience in a dynamic and fast-paced organization.

The successful candidate will gain experience in various fields, including membership and database management, communications, public policy, industry relations, and more. The deadline to apply is TOMORROW, May 12, 2023.

Please share with those who may be interested.


Last Chance - Register Today for the CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament!

May 16 - Chardonnay Golf Club, Napa Valley

The 4th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament hosted by the CAWG Foundation takes place this Tuesday, May 16!

Spots and sponsorships are filling up quickly. Register now before it's too late, as last year's tournament sold out. All registrations must be received by May 15.

The tournament will start with registration at 8:30 AM and a shotgun tee off at 9:30 AM for a four-person scramble.

If you're interested in sponsoring, we have various sponsorship packages available. For more information, please contact Jenny Devine.

Register today!

Suggested Hotels

Lead Story: Group Think in Sacramento

Some labor unions in California have been very successful legislatively by portraying themselves as being on the right side of all issues and demonizing anyone who disagrees with them. This may seem to be a subjectively broad characterization of politics in Sacramento; however, this objective characterization is unfortunately very accurate. 

Consider this week’s statement by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) at a California Labor Federation event, “There’s only two f***ing buttons on your desk. There’s a green button, and there’s a red button. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the green button is the labor button. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the green button means you’re doing the right thing and the red button means that you’re an a**hole.”

Placing this quote in context: On the Assembly floor, lawmakers vote on bills by pressing a button on their desks. Pressing the green button casts an AYE vote and pressing the red button means NOGenerally speaking, when bills reach the Assembly floor, they have already received labor union approval, as bills that labor unions oppose typically die in committee. Consequently, Speaker Rendon’s message was clear – lawmakers who don’t blindly support labor unions are a**holes. 

Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) took exception to Rendon’s statement and posted this on Twitter, “That’s one view. Because of it, Democrats who exercise thoughtful judgment and press the green button only 95 percent of the time get labeled pariahs. This kind of group-think will not be healthy for our party — or for California.”

In California’s single-party rules legislature, it is incredibly important that lawmakers be willing to challenge the status quo and make informed decisions on legislation. CAWG thanks Senator Glazer and other lawmakers who display leadership and exercise thoughtful judgment instead of just doing whatever labor unions or any powerful interest group might demand of them.

End of Public Health Emergency

There's been a lot of discussion in the media about what the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency means for our southern border as most COVID-19 policies will end tonight at midnight. Beyond discussions of Title 42, the end of the public health emergency also brings some welcome changes for employers across the country. However, California employers are not as lucky due to California’s COVID-19 prevention regulation which will remain in effect through March 2025 and may create challenges.

For example, the federal requirement will end for private insurance companies to cover COVID-19 testing without cost sharing. This insurance coverage ends for both over-the-counter tests and laboratory tests. The lack of coverage may mean that some Californians may rely more on employers for testing. This is because California employers are required under certain circumstances to offer testing at no cost and during paid time. 

In California, employers are still required to record and track all COVID-19 cases with detailed information which must be provided to local, state, and federal health officials immediately upon request. However, with the end of the public health emergency, much of the federal COVID-19 data reporting and surveillance will end. Therefore, the public benefit of requiring California employers to keep such records is questionable at best.

The end of the public health emergency will also limit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ability to detect shortages of critical devices related to COVID-19. This is important in California because employers are still required to provide personal protective equipment including N-95 masks upon request. It is unclear how the federal change will affect the supply chain or the costs of PPE.

The bottom line is that while the rest of the country will celebrate the end of the public health emergency, unfortunately, that celebration may be less joyous in California workplaces.  

Al Sheid Celebration of Life

A Celebration of Life to honor Al Scheid, a founding member and past chairman of the CAWG board of directors will be held on June 9 at 11am at Scheid Family Wines - Estate Winery. Please RSVP to Heidi Scheid by May 31.

CAWG May Issue of The Crush Newsletter

Earlier this week, the May issue of The Crush Newsletter was released.


  • Feature Story: Reducing Wildfire Risk for Vineyards
  • Federal Focus: Resolutions Introduced to Repeal H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rate Rule
  • State Update: Heat Illness Prevention - Outdoors and Indoors
  • Legislative Update
  • Last Chance! CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament
  • Oregon Researchers Make Breakthrough in Understanding The Chemistry of Wildfire Smoke in Wine
  • 2023 Membership Directory - Now Available
  • Call for Nominations - 2024 Awards of Excellence
  • West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit
  • Co-Chairs Announced for Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
  • CDFA Announced Healthy Soils Program and SWEEP Grants Available
  • CAWG Internship Opportunity


Ad from Monarch Tractor

Read May Issue

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.

Industry News

Governor Newsom Announces New Flood Investment Proposals

From the Governor's Office:

Governor Gavin Newsom today announced his revised budget proposal will include $492 million in funding to help protect Californians from ongoing flooding impacts in the Central Valley and throughout the state. The one-time funding will support at-risk communities, including those in the Tulare Basin, respond to the impacts of this year’s winter storms and better withstand future flooding. 

What Governor Newsom said: “California is facing unprecedented weather whiplash – we just experienced the driest three years on record, and now we’re dealing with historic flooding. Our investments must match this reality of climate-driven extremes. We’re committing even more resources to support communities up and down the state as they continue responding to the impacts of this year’s storms.” 

The Governor’s May revision of the budget, which will be announced Friday, invests $290 million in new flood proposals:

  • $125 million to support preparedness, response and recovery related to the 2023 storms – funding shifted from drought contingency to flood contingency to address the weather whiplash California is facing;
  • $75 million to support local flood control projects; 
  • $25 million to expand the current California Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Grant Program to provide direct assistance to eligible agriculture-related businesses that have been affected by the recent storms;
  • $25 million for potential additional disaster relief and response costs in this fiscal year to address immediate impacts;
  • $40 million for the San Joaquin Floodplain restoration

The $290 million is on top of the Governor’s January proposal of $202 million in flood investments to protect urban areas, improve levees in the Delta region and support projects in the Central Valley – bringing total flood investments to nearly $500 million.

Read more about California's historic snow-pack and what that means for San Joaquin Valley Farmers below.

Read Full Press Release

Grape Crush Reports Are Essential for U.S. Wine Industry Growth - Here's Why

Grape crush reports are a valuable resource for demonstrating the economic impact of the winegrape industry to both state and federal legislators and making informed decisions that rely on data and metrics. In an article published in SevenFiftyDaily, Amy Beth Wright highlighted the importance of grape crush reports in the United States, explaining that they not only showcase economic impacts but also provide insight into the winegrape industry's current state and potential for growth in the future. Grape crush reports serve as a crucial tool for not only understanding the industry's performance but also shaping its future direction.

Natalie Collins, CAWG President, and Stuart Spencer, Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, along with many additional industry representatives, were quoted in the article addressing how growers and wineries can leverage grape reports.

The 1976 Claire Berryhill Act mandates California grape growers and wineries submit annual reports detailing varieties purchased and the district they were purchased from. The California Department of Food and Agriculture produces the state’s grape crush report, in collaboration with the NASS Pacific Regional Office, says Natalie Collins, the president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. Collins says the data “correlates what’s in the ground, what’s been grown in the past, and what’s selling. It’s a game of supply and demand, and the data backs up smart business decisions.”

“Even if new growers slip through the cracks and some bigger players manipulate the data a bit, the report offers an immense amount of useful information,” adds Stuart Spencer, the executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission. According to Spencer, growers refer to the report to determine where their prices are relative to others, track down varieties easily, and gauge if there is too much of one variety planted. Spencer also suggests that the wine industry relies on state funding for research institutions like the University of California extension programs that work on issues like smoke-affected vineyards, and reports demonstrate industry strength. 

Read the Full Article

Wildfire Prevention Resources

May is National Wildfire Awareness Month, and with the dryer, summer months just around the corner, it's important to be prepared now. Here are a few helpful resources on wildfire prevention and preparedness:

  • Wildfire Preparedness Webinar Recording: On May 24, 2021, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), Wine Institute, and CAWG hosted a webinar focused on wildfire preparedness for vineyards and wineries, featuring Tom Knecht, Pre-Fire Division Chief Sonoma Lake Napa Unit, CAL FIRE and Rich Casale, Consultant, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Other topics included available grants for wildfire prevention and preparedness and insurance issues related to wildfires. 

  • California Department of Insurance website: Learn the ins and outs of insurance claims, the potential benefits of wildfire mitigation actions and types of insurance that will keep you and your assets protected. 

  • California FAIR Plan website: The FAIR Plan provides basic insurance coverage for properties unable to acquire traditional insurance. The website will help you contact a broker to inquire about FAIR Plan protection.

Four Challenges That Will Shape the Next Farm Bill - And How the U.S. Eats

Congress is working on the 20th Farm Bill, which covers everything from food aid to crop insurance. Below, Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director for Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems and Arizona State University shares 4 key issues that could help shape the next Farm Bill.

  1. The Price Tag: Farm bills always are controversial because of their high cost, but this year the timing is especially tricky. In the past two years, Congress has enacted major bills to provide economic relief from the COVID-19 pandemiccounter inflationinvest in infrastructure and boost domestic manufacturing. Agriculture Committee leaders and farm groups argue that more money is necessary to strengthen the food and farm sector. If they have their way, the price tag for the next farm bill would increase significantly from current projections.
  2. Food Aid is the Key Fight: Many people are surprised to learn that nutrition assistance – mainly through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps – is where most farm bill money is spent. Back in the 1970s, Congress began including nutrition assistance in the farm bill to secure votes from an increasingly urban nation. Today, over 42 million Americans depend on SNAP, including nearly 1 in every 4 children. Along with a few smaller programs, SNAP will likely consume 80% of the money in the new farm bill, up from 76% in 2018.
  3. Debating Climate Solutions: The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act provided $19.5 billion to the Department of Agriculture for programs that address climate change. Environmentalists and farmers alike applauded this investment, which is intended to help the agriculture sector embrace climate-smart farming practices and move toward markets that reward carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services. This big pot of money has become a prime target for members of Congress who are looking for more farm bill funding. On the other side, conservation advocates, sustainable farmers, and progressive businesses oppose diverting climate funds for other purposes. There also is a growing demand for Congress to require USDA to develop better standards for measuring, reporting, and verifying actions designed to protect or increase soil carbon. Interest is rising in “carbon farming” – paying farmers for practices such as no-till agriculture and planting cover crops, which some studies indicate can increase carbon storage in soil.
  4. A Complex Bill and Inexperienced Legislators: Understanding farm bills requires highly specialized knowledge about issues ranging from crop insurance to nutrition to forestry. Nearly one-third of current members of Congress were first elected after the 2018 farm bill was enacted, so this is their first farm bill cycle.

Read More

California's Historic Snowpack is Melting... What's Next and What Impact Will it Have on Food Prices?

California's "big melt" has started leaving experts brainstorming and Californians preparing for what will come next. Currently, the snowpack is approximately three times the average amount. However, as temperatures rise, the snow will melt and flow downhill.

What does this mean? This a question many are asking throughout the state, but specifically in the counties located in the central valley where four major rivers empty into the Tulare Lake basin. The Washington Post published an article this week with four scenarios that could happen, but regardless, with warmer temperatures on the horizon, flooding in the Tulare basin is somewhat inevitable, the biggest question remains, how fast?

Kern, Kings, Fresno, and Tulare County farmers and residents alike have experienced flooding already and are anxiously watching the water rise. In an article published by NPR, Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero recently estimated the losses in his county at $40 million. A supervisor for neighboring Kings County, which encompasses more of the lakebed, said crop damage has already exceeded $100 million. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that farm products in the Tulare Lake basin and the Central Coast (which also experience horrific flooding) are down 10% or more. For consumers, this translates to a supply and demand situation which means less variety of commodities and higher prices. Strawberries, tomatoes, leafy greens, and dairies are some of the commodities that have been affected the most.

The historic flooding also impacts the communities and specifically those who work on impacted agricultural operations.

Governor Newsom described the scene as surreal on a recent tour of Corcoran, a small town in Kings County bordering the Tulare Basin. "You can look at a scene like this and think the worst is behind us, when in fact it's quite the contrary," said California Governor Newsom. "Every day we're seeing an incremental half-inch, inch of new water present itself in the basin."

Damp Drinking - What is it?

"Damp Drinking" or embracing a "Damp Lifestyle" seems to be the newest trending topic on TikTok. Millennials and Gen Z users alike are simply drinking less. The hashtag #damplifestyle, initially coined by a TikTok user has had more than 42 million views.

How familiar are consumers with the concept of "Damp Drinking?" According to a Morning Consult poll conducted in April 2023, which surveyed 6,471 U.S. adults who consume alcohol, only 15% of them were familiar with the term. However, the percentage of familiarity was higher among younger generations, with 31% of Millennials and 35% of Gen Z adults recognizing the term. Additionally, among TikTok users, 27% were familiar with the term. Among Millennials who drink alcohol, 31% were familiar with the term, while the same figure for Gen Z adults was 35%.

As part of the Morning Consult poll, participants were also asked if they were interested in adopting the damp lifestyle. While 44% of all participants expressed interest, Baby boomers showed less enthusiasm with only 27% interested, compared to 55% of Gen Z and 61% of Millennials.

Read More

EU Pesticide Policies Impact on U.S. Exports Webinar

On May 3, Bryant Christie Inc. hosted a free webinar titeld, “Will Changes in European Pesticide Policies Impact Your Business? What Every Ag Exporter Should Know.”

The webinar featured experts in international ag trade who provided insights into current and upcoming EU pesticide and MRL policies and their likely impact on agribusinesses around the world.

The webinar recording is now available until May 31, 2023.

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Integrating Mechanization Workshop

Mechanization impacts many farming practices from trellising to pest management, from machine maintenance to labor. In this Vineyard Team workshop, learn from experienced farmers and precision agriculture specialists about how technology drives mechanization and how you can implement these practices on your vineyard. 


  • May 12, 9 AM - 11 AM, Foley Estates Vineyard & Wine, Lompoc


The Farm Bill: Where are we now? Webinar

Agri-Pulse is hosting a free webinar to discuss the status of farm bill deliberations and the broad range of challenges facing the House and Senate Ag committees in the coming months.

John Newton, chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee’s minority staff, and Jacqlyn Schneider, a former top aide to Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. will join Agri-Pulse Executive Editor Philip Brasher.


  • May 15, 9 AM, Virtual


UC Davis Viticulture & Enology - Office Hours with Dave and Anita

Join UC Davis Viticulture & Enology for their Office Hours with Dave & Anita, Episode 21: Why do we need grape varieties featuring Luis Diaz Garcia and Megan Bartlett.

Luis and Megan are assistant professors in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis and will give short presentations on why we need new grape varieties, what the process looks like, and what kinds of new varieties might be useful and why. This is a virtual event presented via Zoom. It is free to attend, but registration is required. 


  • May 24, 2-3 PM, Virtual


West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit

The 2023 Smoke Summit will include updates and recent findings on wildfire smoke impacts from leading researchers at OSU, UC Davis, and WSU. In addition, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will provide updates on research activities and future initiatives.

Formal agenda to come.


  • June 7, 1 PM, Virtual


CAWG 401K Multiple Employer Plan & CalSavers Webinar

Join CAWG and Woodruff Sawyer on June 8th to learn more about the power of a Multiple Employer Plan and see if this may be a good fit for your operation and employees.


The CAWG 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan offers employers all the advantages and flexibility of a stand-along plan without the expenses and administrative burden associated with sponsoring a single employer plan.


Register today to learn more about the plan and your options


  • June 8, 11 AM, Virtual


American Society For Enology and Viticulture National Conference

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (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.

Learn the latest about Pierce’s disease and glassy-winged sharpshooter research at the 2023 ASEV National Conference. The PD/GWSS Board Research Seminar session will be moderated by PD/GWSS Board Research Coordinator Kristin Lowe.

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.


  • June 26-29, Napa Valley Marriott

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



16 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament


7 - West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force Smoke Summit


13 - CAWG Annual Meeting (Virtual)



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