December 21, 2023




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • CAWG Advocacy Day 2024 - Tuesday, March 12 
  • New H-2A Wage Rates (AEWRs) Effective January 1, 2024
  • Corporate Transparency Act: Companies Must Report in 2024
  • The Winegrape Update
  • Past CAWG Board Director Featured as Wine Industry Champion

Industry News:

  • USDA Protects Fruit, Vegetable and Livestock Producers with Emergency Funding to Address Exotic Fruit Fly and New World Screwworm Outbreaks
  • Wine Business Institute Launches its Inaugural "A Report on the Wine Industry Today"
  • USDA Announces High-Level Leadership Changes
  • California Advances Projects to Build Climate-Resilient Communities, Conserve Agricultural Land
  • CSWA's All-New Website and California Sustainable Winegrowing Snapshot 
  • Turrentine Market Update, December 2023
  • Annual Family Business Survey

Upcoming Events:

  • 2024 Awards of Excellence Reception
  • WGA Annual Luncheon
  • CAWG PAC Event During Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

Happy Holidays from CAWG!

As we close out 2023, CAWG extends sincere gratitude for your support throughout the year. Your commitment to unifying the winegrape industry has been instrumental in our collective success!

Approaching CAWG's 50th anniversary in 2024, we reflect on our community's collaborative spirit and achievements. Your unwavering support has been integral to CAWGs remarkable journey, and we look forward to another year of promoting our vibrant industry together. Wishing you a joyous holiday season filled with good company and exceptional California wine.

There will be no eNews produced next week (December 28) but will resume on January 4.


CAWG Advocacy Day 2024 - Tuesday, March 12

Growers Talking With Policy Makers 


As 2023 wraps up, it is important to look ahead to 2024 when there will be dozens of issues coming before the California State Legislature that need our time and attention. Getting involved early makes a big difference. 


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 your fellow growers and industry leaders for CAWG Advocacy Day 2024, a day of grassroots lobbying in Sacramento on Tuesday, March 12. 


Our lobbying team headed by Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations, and Jack Gualco, The Gualco Group, Inc. are planning an exciting and informative day. 

  • The day begins with breakfast at the Capitol Events Center in Sacramento and then presentations from key elected officials and Newsom Administration leaders.  
  • The afternoon will comprise of legislative visits, meeting with elected officials and staff, to advocate on priority issues for CA winegrape growers. 
  • After legislative visits are complete, the CAWG Foundation will host a networking reception at Prelude Kitchen and Bar. 

CAWG works hard on your behalf to provide a strong voice in the State Capitol. However, hearing directly from the people who are most affected by policies coming out of Sacramento is crucial to CAWG’s efforts on your behalf. CAWG’s Advocacy Day is your opportunity to talk with and educate key policymakers about important issues affecting your business.  

CAWG’s Advocacy Day and Foundation Reception are complimentary for all CAWG members. Sponsorship opportunities are available for those interested in elevating their involvement. 

Register NOW for CAWG Advocacy Day 2024

New H-2A Wage Rates (AEWRs) Effective January 1, 2024

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recently published its notice announcing the updated Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) that will be effective January 1, 2024. The AEWR is the minimum hourly wage rate that the DOL has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment to prevent adverse effects on the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Program rules generally require ag employers engaging employees with employment-based H-2a visas to pay the highest of the AEWR, any applicable prevailing wage, or the applicable statutory minimum wage.

The 2024 AEWR for California is $19.75, the highest in the U.S. and a 6% increase over 2023. In many states, the AEWR rose 7% year-over-year.

Corporate Transparency Act: Companies Must Report in 2024

The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is an anti-money laundering law passed by Congress in 2021. Under the CTA, virtually all U.S. corporations and limited liability companies are required to file basic information regarding the officers and major owners of the business. The filings will be used to develop a beneficial ownership registry to be used in the fight against money laundering and similar criminal activities. Failure to report in the 2024 year can lead to civil and criminal penalties.

Who must file?

Most companies that are business entities must report. The rule is that any business entity “… created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or any similar office in the United States” must report. Reporting companies include:

  • Limited Liability Companies, including single member LLCs
  • S corporations
  • C corporations
  • Cooperatives
  • Associations
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Certain trusts

*Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are exceptions for companies who DO NOT need to file.

For more details on reporting, including who qualifies as a beneficial owner, and a complete list of exceptions, see the Small Entity Compliance Guide on the FinCEN’s Beneficial Ownership Information website.

When and where to file?

For businesses that already exist, the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) filing can be made starting January 1, 2024. Filings must be made by January 1, 2025 for existing businesses. This gives current companies one full year to make their initial BOI filing.

The Winegrape Update

CAWG is introducing a new initiative—The Winegrape Update: A Monthly Growers Forum starting in January 2024. This virtual gathering is exclusively tailored for CAWG members, providing a unique platform for members to engage with CAWG staff, industry guests, and fellow members.

Scheduled on the second Wednesday of each month, starting with the inaugural forum on Wednesday, January 10, The Winegrape Update promises insightful discussions on pertinent topics. January's agenda includes discussions on the Corporate Transparency Act, Federal Appropriations and the Farm Bill, along with a 2024 California Legislative Update. This forum not only offers members the chance to stay informed but also provides a forum to share challenges and opportunities, enabling them to directly shape CAWG's understanding of the issues they confront.

Register Here.

Past CAWG Board Director Featured as Wine Industry Champion

Wine Industry Advisor has introduced a new profile series, Wine Industry Champions, to spotlight individuals driving progress in their wine regions and promoting the wine industry.

Kim Stemler, a past CAWG board director and executive director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association (MCVGA) since 2012, has been named a Wine Industry Champion. The region, comprising 10 distinct sub-AVAs in California's Monterey County (with another pending), has confronted unprecedented challenges in recent times. These include recurrent wildfires in Carmel Valley and Big Sur, as well as mudslides and life-threatening flooding. Simultaneously, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the essential labor force crucial to the success of the agricultural economy. Throughout these trials, Stemler has consistently been the composed and rational voice.

“When all wine growers and makers require access to the same information and resources, it becomes more effective and efficient for a single entity to assume that responsibility,” says Stemler. “By strategically serving as that guiding voice and consistently delivering accurate information, we fulfill one of our most invaluable roles. In doing so, we save precious time for each individual business.”

Read more about Kim in her Wine Industry Champion Profile.

Industry News

USDA Protects Fruit, Vegetable and Livestock Producers with Emergency Funding to Address Exotic Fruit Fly and New World Screwworm Outbreaks

In addressing the escalating challenges posed by spreading outbreaks of exotic fruit flies and New World screwworm, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is deploying emergency funding. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has approved transferring $213.3 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation to APHIS. This financial infusion is specifically designated to bolster domestic and international emergency response initiatives to safeguard the interests of fruit, vegetable, and livestock industries, as well as producers, against the threats posed by these pests.

“Increasing our response efforts to exotic fruit fly and New World screwworm outbreaks is critical to minimizing their potential impact on our nation’s agriculture and trade,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “This funding will enable us to swiftly prevent both populations’ further spread before they become established and harder to eradicate.”

USDA reports that APHIS will use $103.5 million of these funds to address known outbreaks of fruit flies in California and increase preventive activities in other susceptible areas in the United States. APHIS will use $109.8 million to combat New World screwworm detections in Panama and other areas that are critical to preventing the pest from spreading back into North America.

Wine Business Institute Launches its Inaugural "A Report on the Wine Industry Today"

The Wine Business Institute (WBI) at Sonoma State University has unveiled its first-ever "A Report on the Wine Industry Today" offering a thorough examination of the current wine industry. WBI conducted an online panel discussion on December 15 to share the key findings of the report and answer audience questions.

The 14-page report includes a review of the annual WBI executive survey presented at WineBusiness Monthly’s Wine Industry Financial Symposium. It also includes a Q&A with Korbel Champagne Cellars President & Chairman, Gary Heck, and a summary of WBI faculty research updates. 

“While this year has been a challenging one for the wine industry, there are bright spots and companies who are exploiting opportunities; our approach is to highlight success,” Ray Johnson, executive director of the Wine Business Institute, noted in a Dec. 6 press release.

Read More

USDA Announces High-Level Leadership Changes

USDA announced this week leadership changes in Washington, D.C. Two of those positions impact the APHIS program.

Kevin Shea was named Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Since 2013, Shea has served as the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), where he led USDA’s efforts to protect the health, safety, and value of American agriculture and wildlife.

Dr. Michael Watson was named Administrator of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service. Watson has been the Associate Administrator of the APHIS program since 2018. In this role, he has worked with the Administrator to oversee the day-to-day operations of the agency in support of the mission to protect American agriculture. 

Read more.

California Advances Projects to Build Climate-Resilient Communities, Conserve Agricultural Land

Governor Newsom issued a press release this week highlighting the latest round of state grants to plan and implement neighborhood-level climate resilience projects and conserve agricultural land throughout California.

The press release states that the California Strategic Growth Council has approved $98.1 million for 11 climate resilience projects in disadvantaged, unincorporated, and tribal communities through the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program, as well as $116.8 million to conserve approximately 50,500 acres of agricultural and working lands through the in Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) program, making further progress on the state’s 30x30 conservation goal.

Read More

CSWA's All-New Website and California Sustainable Winegrowing Snapshot 

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has unveiled its newly redesigned website, a testament to the organization's unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic viability in the wine industry.

The revitalized design not only serves as a visual representation of these core values but also provides growers and vintners with enhanced resources and a suite of tools aimed at facilitating the seamless adoption of sustainable practices.

CSWA also released a snapshot of the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Program in California:

2,758 Certified Vineyards  

242,758 Acres | 38% of Statewide acres


214 Certified Wineries 

202M Cases | 80% of Statewide production 

1,350 Certified Wines 

20.5M+ Cases bearing the logo or certification claims 

246M+ Bottles with the logo

Turrentine Market Update, December 2023

The Turrentine Brokerage released its December Newsletter focused on a post harvest market update.

"The 2023 harvest is finally over with the last grapes harvested in early December. While specific 2023 tons crushed numbers won’t be available until the Crush Report is released in early February, we do have substantial market data from transactions we facilitated and from current bulk wine supply and demand trends. Regardless of the final tons crushed numbers, market dynamics indicate that overall yields per acre on the tons harvested and delivered were generally more than what wineries were planning for or wanted. The larger crop this year combined with the reduction of consumer demand caused by inflationary pressure, demographic changes, reduced consumption, competition, and global anti-alcohol efforts became more evident and effectively pushed the market back to excess as described in the Turrentine Wine Business Wheel."

Annual Family Business Survey

Family Enterprise USA has recently released its Annual Family Business Survey, a comprehensive analysis that illuminates the challenges faced by family businesses.

The insights gained from this anonymous survey will play a crucial role in shaping legislative discussions during visits to Washington, D.C. as Family Enterprise USA endeavors to advocate for policies that address the issues and concerns of family businesses.

Take the Survey

Upcoming Events and Trainings

2024 Awards of Excellence Reception

Join CAWG to honor Sangiacomo Family Vineyards as its 2024 Grower of the Year and California Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross, as its 2024 Leader of the Year.

All CAWG members are welcome to join in celebrating the remarkable achievements and invaluable contributions of both the Sangiacomo Family and Secretary Ross to California's winegrape industry.

The awards reception will follow the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium welcome reception at the Sheraton Grand, Sacramento. Registration for the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium is not required and there is no fee for attending the reception.

When and Where:

  • January 23, 6 PM, Sheraton Grand, Sacramento

Sponsorship Opportunities are available, contact Jenny Devine for more information.

WGA Annual Leadership Luncheon

It’s that time of year when nationwide industry members come together for the Winegrape Growers of America (WGA) Annual Leadership Luncheon. The luncheon will take place during the 2024 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, at the Hyatt Regency, in Sacramento.

Please join WGA on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, for lunch, networking, a presentation from our keynote speaker, and the honoring of an individual with the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award.

Register Here!

CAWG PAC Event During Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

Join CAWG for a rockin' good time while supporting the CAWG PAC during the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium at Ace of Spades!

Last year's event was a sold-out success so we are bringing it back this year and expanding to a bigger venue. Live music will be on tap by Remedy 7, featuring our very own Michael Miiller (CAWG's Director of Government Relations) on drums.

When and Where:

  • January 24, 9 PM, Ace of Spades, Sacramento

Get Your Tickets Early!

Sponsorship Opportunities are available, contact Jenny Devine for more information.



10 - The Winegrape Update

23-25 - Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

23 - 2024 Awards of Excellence Reception

24 - WGA Annual Leadership Luncheon

24 - CAWG PAC Event During Unified Wine & Grape Symposium



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