March 28, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • PAGA Injustices Need to End
  • Encouragement from Wine Country's Youth
  • 2024 Green Medal Winners Announced
  • Simplify Sampling Plan Creation & Collection With Aerial Data Webinar Recording
  • Upcoming Webinars Focused on Agricultural Technology
  • CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

Industry News:

Upcoming Events:

  • UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology On the Road Programs
  • 2-Day Regenerative Winegrowing Workshop
  • UCCE San Joaquin County Vineyard IPM Day
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit


PAGA Injustices Need To End

Enacted in 2004, California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) was intended to be a more effective way to help workers resolve labor disputes. Two decades later, it’s clear that PAGA’s “lawsuit-first” approach has failed – it’s ineffective and inefficient for workers and unfair for thousands of small businesses.

Those benefitting the most from PAGA are the lawyers who use social media to search for clients. For example, a Southern California lawsuit routinely sets up websites in their search for clients. They promise big pay days for former employees: If you worked for XXXXXX Company in California within the last 3 years we want to talk to you. If you qualify, you could be owed compensation. Based in California, our firm has championed workers' rights across the state for over ten years, securing millions in compensation for thousands of workers.”

This particular law firm is widely known for filing the most PAGA claims and for farming cases out to other law firms and then dictating settlement terms. It is not uncommon for this firm to threaten damages of more than a million dollars when they send a demand letter to an employer. The firm’s website shows a team of 28 lawyers who will go after any employer no matter how big or small.

Those demands will often be for wage and hour issues (including meal breaks, rounding errors, sick leave, etc.) where there was no mistake whatsoever by the employer. Any employer who has not yet had to deal with a PAGA claim should consider themselves to be very lucky. 

All of this is why CAWG is part of a coalition (Californians for Fair Pay and Employer Accountability) that is trying to bring an end to the terrible injustices of PAGA. We could see legislation signed into law this year to fix PAGA. If not, a ballot measure has already qualified for the November 2024 ballot.

If you would like to participate in the effort to reform PAGA, please visit, and consider signing up as an individual or as an organization/company. We all need to fight back on this abusive law.  

Encouragement from Wine Country's Youth

Everyone in the wine industry knows things are a little stressful. Growers are dealing with pest problems, market imbalance, import pressure, and much more. In these times of tension, we are all engaged and doing everything we can to address and resolve these challenges.

But sometimes, simple words of encouragement can also be very helpful as we all just try to cope. And sometimes, those words can come from the most unlikely of sources. For example, CBS news did a feel-good report about a project by the students at West Side Elementary in Healdsburg. This wine country project includes a hotline featuring pre-recorded life advice and words of encouragement by the students, aged 5-12.

Within days of going live, the hotline went viral, receiving 60,000 calls an hour from all over the world. The project recently reached its two-year mark. While the project was created in the first year of kids returning to full-time school after the pandemic, the hotline continues to receive thousands of calls per day. This goes to show what generational growers already know: Never underestimate the power of kids. 

Give the PEPTOC Hotline a try, call (707) 873-7862.

2024 Green Medal Winners Announced

Three CAWG members were awarded California Green Medal Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. These awardees are recognized for their advanced sustainability practices and innovation based on a comprehensive judging process focused on both sustainable viticulture and winemaking.

Winners of the 2024 California Green Medals are:

  • *Leader Award - LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards: LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards, located in Acampo, California, has embraced sustainability since the early 1970s, demonstrating their commitment through habitat restoration projects, the inclusion of energy-efficient design and solar-power technology in their state-of-the-art winery, as well as the engagement of local youth in hands-on environmental stewardship education. 
  • Environment Award - Gloria Ferrer: Gloria Ferrer stands as a model of sustainability, embodying a steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and innovation. In 2021, Gloria Ferrer transitioned all 330 acres of their estate vineyards to regenerative organic farming practices.
  • *Community Award - Cooper-Garrod Vineyards at Garrod Farms: Cooper-Garrod's impact extends beyond the vineyards and into the community. From pioneering the Firewise Community initiative to actively participating in benefits for schools, mental health, Chambers of Commerce and history foundations, to inviting community members to use the farm’s hiking trails, they actively contribute to their neighbors’ well-being. 
  • *Business Award - Vino Farms, LLC: Vino Farms, a vineyard management company based in Lodi, not only exemplifies a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible agriculture but also demonstrates that sustainable practices can be synonymous with good business practices. 

*CAWG Members

Read more about the 2024 winners here.

Simplify Sampling Plan Creation & Collection With Aerial Data Webinar Recording

CAWG and VineView hosted an educational webinar demonstrating how to simplify the creation and collection of your sampling strategy utilizing VineView’s new smart sampling tools.


The webinar included an overview and demonstration of VineView’s new sampling plan creator which aids growers in creating sampling plans that pinpoint locations while providing an accurate representation of field conditions. The webinar also included a demonstration of VineView’s new mobile collector app.


Watch the full webinar here.

Upcoming Webinars Focused on Agricultural Technology

CAWG has partnered with VIneView and LUMO to provide education webinars focused on ag-tech. Below are details on two upcoming webinars.

How Custom Crop Coefficient Maps Help Growers With Irrigation Planning

April 3 - 10:00 AM - Register Here

Explore how VineView’s new site-specific Evapotranspiration data can aid growers with irrigation planning.

This webinar will cover:

- A comparison of traditional methods for calculating crop coefficient vs. site-specific Evapotranspiration data.

- Kc lookup charts, on-site calculations, and satellite data.

- A demonstration of VineView’s new custom Kc maps.

- Identify how thermal imaging can be used to identify problem areas.

Assessing Irrigation Automation - 3 Simple Steps to Calculate Your ROI

April 16 - 10:00 AM - Register Here


This webinar will explore what irrigation automation can do for your operation. To fully understand whether or not automating your irrigation makes sense, growers need to factor in several variables, such as:


·   Current irrigation costs 

·   Projected irrigation costs after implementing automation

·   The cost of investment and payback period 

·   The indirect costs and benefits of automating


Lumo will walk you through a simple three-step ROI assessment to evaluate the business case for automating. The process can be done in minutes and uses inputs unique to your business to give you a tailored ROI. 

CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

Join the California Association of Winegrape Growers Foundation (CAWG) Foundation for the 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament on Monday, May 20, at the Wildhorse Golf Club in Davis, CARegister today, 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. Since the program’s inception in 1998, the Foundation has awarded $603,500 in scholarships to help students pursue higher education. 

Tournament registration will begin at 8:30 AM, with a shotgun start. 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. 

Even if you don't golf, you can still be a part of the fun! We are looking for volunteers, raffle prizes, and vendor sponsors. Please complete this brief survey if you are interested in volunteering.

  • Vendor Hole Sponsor & Raffle Prizes: If you have an item you would like to donate to the raffle or if you are a vendor interested in sponsoring a hole, please let us know by completing the survey.
  • Volunteers: Please join us for a fun day out on the course by volunteering. If interested please select the times you are available. We are looking for volunteers to help set up (registration, raffle items, games on course); manage the games on the course, and a floater to provide those on the course a break.

Hotel Recommendations are available here.

Industry News

Lodi District Grape Growers Association Business and Economic Forum

The Lodi District Grape Growers Association (LDGGA) is hosting a seminar on winegrape growing business and the economic factors impacting the industry. The seminar will be held on Thursday, April 4 at 9 AM in Jackson Hall at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds.

Topics include:

  • Current Wine Market Trends, Jon Moramarco, bw166
  • Winegrape Market Update, Jeff Bitter and Kyle Collins, Allied Grape Growers
  • 2023 Crush Perspective and Update on Vineyard Values, Chris Bitter, Terrain/American AgCredit
  • Crop Insurance: The Pay In vs. The Pay Out, Kristine Fox, Relation Insurance Services
  • Grower and Industry Panel: Managing & Prioritizing Vineyard Expenditures, Moderated by Natalie Collins, CAWG President

RSVP to LDGGA by email or by phone 209.339.8246. 

USDA to Provide More Than $3 Billion to Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers Impacted by 2022 Natural Disasters 

On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023 (P.L. 117-328) providing $3.7 billion in financial assistance for agricultural producers impacted by eligible natural disasters that occurred in the 2022 calendar year. Eligible impacted producers can apply for financial assistance through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) 2022

ERP 2022 covers losses to crops, trees, bushes, and vines due to qualifying natural disaster events including wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, tornadoes, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture, qualifying drought, and related conditions.  

ERP 2022 program benefits will be delivered to eligible producers through a two-track process. FSA intends to make both tracks available to producers at the same time.

ERP 2022 Application Process – Track 1 

ERP 2022 Track 1 leverages existing federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) data as the basis for calculating payments for eligible crop producers who received indemnities through these risk management programs. Although FSA is sending pre-filled ERP 2022 Track 1 application forms to producers who have crop insurance and NAP data already on file with USDA, producers indemnified for losses resulting from 2022 natural disasters do not have to wait to receive the application before requesting ERP 2022 assistance.

Effective Oct. 31, 2023, producers can apply for ERP 2022 benefits whether they have received the pre-filled application or not. Receipt of a pre-filled application is not confirmation that a producer is eligible to receive an ERP 2022 Track 1 payment. 

ERP 2022 Application Process – Track 2 

Track 2 is a revenue-based certification program designed to assist eligible producers who suffered an eligible decrease in revenue resulting from the 2022 calendar year disaster events when compared with revenue in a benchmark year using revenue information that is readily available from most tax records. In cases where revenue does not reasonably reflect a normal year’s revenue, Track 2 provides an alternative method for establishing revenue. Likewise, Track 2 affords producers of crops that are used within an operation and do not generate revenue from the sale of the crop a method for establishing revenue for the purpose of applying for ERP 2022 benefits. Producers are not required to submit tax records to FSA unless requested by the County Committee if required for an FSA compliance spot check. 

Additional reference resources can be found on FSA’s emergency relief website.

Key trends for the US wine market in 2024

It is no secret the US wine market is bracing for ongoing challenges in 2024 and beyond, including a shrinking consumer base, declining volumes in lower-priced segments, and a plateau in sparkling wine growth.

Despite an uptick in consumer sentiment in 2023, with increasing positivity about incomes and future prospects, economic pressures are leading consumers to prioritize essentials over discretionary spending, limiting the positive impact on wine sales. The US wine market is heavily reliant on domestic consumption, with 88% of wine produced in the US consumed domestically, compared to lower percentages for other wine-producing countries like Italy, France, and Spain.

The demographic makeup of regular wine drinkers is also shifting, with an aging population leading to lower involvement and drinking frequency levels. Millennials, however, remain a key market segment, showing high involvement in the wine category and a willingness to spend more on wine. They are also more adventurous, with a keen interest in trying new styles of wine and alternative packaging formats.

Overall, while the US wine market faces continued challenges, there are growth opportunities for brand owners who target engaged and adventurous Millennials, and who consider evolving attitudes among Gen Z consumers. Premium-and-above price tiers are expanding, and exploring export markets could help offset domestic losses.

Read More

Quote of the Week:

On why tied-house laws are obsolete and get in the way of selling wine: 

“The three-tier system is a remnant of Prohibition, and it’s very difficult to navigate,” says Sarah Trubnick, the co-founder and co-owner of New Hampshire-based Northeast Wine Company and Vitis Distribution.

“Each state has its own interpretation of the system and operating across state borders can be mind-bogglingly difficult.”

Redefining American Wine

California is home to more than 4,200 wineries, but states throughout the country also contribute to America's diverse wine landscape. However, wines from these regions are often challenging to find outside their local markets, limiting exposure for consumers.

Efforts to broaden the definition of American wine are underway, aiming to showcase unique expressions of terroir from coast to coast. However, producers and distributors face challenges such as cultural biases, distribution complexities, and high entry costs. Overcoming these hurdles requires education, awareness, and support from the wine industry.

Despite these challenges, there are success stories. Restaurants and retailers along with sommeliers and distributors are helping to broaden the reach and acceptance of American wines beyond the traditional regions.

Overall, while the journey to redefine American wine is complex, there is a growing movement to celebrate and share the diverse and evolving wine culture of the United States.

Read More

California Producers Encouraged to Apply for USDA’s Continuous Conservation Reserve Program

USDA is now accepting applications for the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (Continuous CRP). USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages agricultural producers and landowners in California who are interested in conservation opportunities for their land in exchange for yearly rental payments to consider the enrollment options available through Continuous CRP, which also includes the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) offered by FSA partners. Additionally, producers participating in CRP can now apply to re-enroll, if their contracts will expire this year.    

To submit an offer, producers should contact the FSA at their local USDA Service Center by July 31, 2024, in order to have an offer effective by Oct. 1, 2024. To ensure enrollment acreages do not exceed the statutory cap, FSA will accept offers from producers on a first-come, first-served basis and will return offers for approval in batches throughout the year. 

Gubernatorial Appointments Training

California Farm Bureau is hosting a Gubernatorial Appointments Training webinar with Chief Deputy Appointments Secretary Morgan Carvajal from the Governor’s office. This is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of applying for board and commissions.

The webinar will be held on April 1 at 7:30 PM. Learn more here.

Registration is required.

Upcoming Events and Trainings

2-Day Regenerative Winegrowing Workshop

Regenerative winegrowing is a dynamic approach that at its core is about profitably farming in alliance with the ecosystem.

This two-day workshop hosted by the Paicines Ranch Learning Center will lead participants to a deeper understanding of regenerative agriculture.

When and Where:

  • March 28-29, Paicines Ranch, Paicines, CA

Register Here

UCCE San Joaquin County Vineyard IPM Day

UC ANR is hosting a vineyard Integrated Pest Management Day on April 1 in Stockton from 7:30 AM - 12 PM. Topics include Powdery Mildew and Bunch Rot Management Overview, Using Weather Stations to Understand and Respond to Disease Pressure, Spotted Lanternfly Updates,

Vineyard Trunk Disease Management, Vineyard Soil Pest and Disease Management, and Remote Sensing on Grapevine Leaf Roll Virus Detection. On-line registration is available.


Continuing Education hours have been approved (3.5 PCA and 3.5 CCA).

When and Where:

  • April 1, UCCE San Joaquin County office, Stockton, CA

Register Here

UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology On the Road Programs

On The Road programs, hosted by the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology are educational seminars that help the department communicate with the California grape and wine industries by bringing faculty to different regions of California.

They present relevant topics or current research and listen to the issues that are important to grape-growing and winemaking professionals.

Upcoming Events:

Please visit the Viticulture and Enology website for more information. 

U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

Join the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and co-hosts from California, Washington, New York, and Oregon to learn about cutting-edge sustainable and climate-beneficial practices being adopted in vineyards and wineries across the U.S. — and in the broader value chain. Be inspired and gain ideas on how to share sustainable winegrowing stories with consumers and trade. Engage in conversations and build community with others dedicated to sustainability in wine at the 2024 U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit.  

  • 2-Day All-Inclusive tickets | Sold Out
  • Sustainable Winery & Vineyard Tour | Sold Out
  • Sustainable Wine Tasting & Dinner w/Keynote | Price increases 4/16
  • Day 2 Conference (May 1) | Price increases 4/16 
  • Virtual Tickets (May 1) | $50 
  • Virtual Tickets for Students (May 1) | $25 (when students register with a school email)

When and Where:

  • April 30 - May 1, Lodi

Register Here



3 - Webinar: How Custom Crop Coefficient Maps Help Growers With Irrigation Planning

16 - Webinar: Assessing Irrigation Automation - 3 Simple Steps to Calculate Your ROI


20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament



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