February 9, 2023




This week's eNews Includes:

  • Lead Story: Political Gas
  • CAWG News:
  • COVID-19 Tax Credit Bill
  • 71st Annual Lodi Grape Day
  • Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Assn Annual Grower Seminar
  • ACTIVATE - AgSafe's Annual Conference
  • Reminder: Renew Your CAWG Membership
  • National Grape Research Alliance Elects Officers & Board Members
  • Register Today - 2023 CAWG Advocacy Day
  • CAWG Foundation Scholarships
  • Relief for Financial Losses from National Disasters and Pandemic Webinar
  • Industry News:
  • Preliminary Grape Crush Report
  • Farm Service Agency in California is Accepting Emergency Conservation Program Applications
  • Thompson, Newhouse Reconstitute Congressional Wine Caucus
  • CDFA Research Grant Proposals Available for Fruit Tree, Nut Tree, and Grapevine Improvement Advisory Board
  • Paso Robles Groundwater Townhall
  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Off Campus Programs
  • Immigration and Farm Labor Conference
  • FELS AB 2183 Card Check Trainings
  • Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)


Political Gas

There is a guarantee in politics that when gas prices are high, politicians will go on the offense and attack oil companies. Historically, this happens when prices rise quickly and stay high for an extended period. Politicians feel the need to react to the public’s frustration as costs at the pump hurt family budgets and substantially increase the cost of doing business.  


Political attacks have included TV commercials, legislative oversight hearings that promise to “get to the bottom of this,” and threats of tax increases for oil companies and criminal prosecution for oil executives. These efforts frequently flame out when prices begin to inch down. 


Today, even in times of inflation and global conflict in oil-producing nations, politicians have seized the opportunity to attack oil companies with broad-based attacks that include price gouging, price fixing, windfall profit-taking, and more. President Biden, Governor Newsom, and lawmakers in both DC and Sacramento have demanded oil companies change things immediately and lower gas prices as early as yesterday. 


Unfortunately, these efforts don’t include an evaluation of gas taxes or how regulations affect the costs of providing fuel. It seems, that most California politicians don’t like to look within as they scrutinize gas prices and oil companies.  


The effects of high gas prices are felt daily by all of us. Businesspeople and consumers alike would appreciate immediate relief. As prices are now leveling off and declining slowly, let’s hope prices continue to decline for quite a while, and the related costs of fertilizer and other products fall as well.  


When that happens, we can be sure the political enthusiasm for the issue will wane.

CAWG Membership Renewals - RENEW TODAY!

Don't forget to renew your CAWG membership. If you have not renewed your membership, you will not receive this eNews publication moving forward.

Need a copy of your invoice? Contact Natalie Collins.


COVID-19 Tax Credit Bill

Today, Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson) introduced SB 375 which is sponsored by CAWG. This bill will reimburse employers for costs incurred in complying with the COVID-19 Prevention-Non-Emergency Regulation. 

Employer costs are estimated at around $3 billion annually for 2023 and 2024. CAWG growers have made it clear that they do not want to continue to be the social safety net for a community-spread virus. Especially now that both Governor Newsom and President Biden have announced that the end to the emergency is soon upon us. 

SB 375 calls on the State of California to bear the costs, not employers.  

71st Annual Lodi Wine & Grape Day

On February 7th, the Lodi Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee, along with the University Cooperative Extension, hosted the 71st Annual Lodi Grape Day. The industry came together to bring education on improving yields, fighting pests and diseases, and wine grape market trends to more than 250 winegrape growers in attendance.

CAWG Director of Government Relations, Michael Miiller spoke about regulatory obstacles regarding the use of autonomous equipment in vineyards. The group left feeling optimistic about the future of precision viticulture and will actively await the CalOSHA public hearing coming up in March.

Other topics included establishing an integrated leafroll-3 virus management program, efforts to halt the Spotted Lanternfly, mitigating late spring frost damage in vineyards, open-air ag burning, and managing raptors for increased pest control on farms.

Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association Annual Grower Seminar

The Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association hosted its Annual Grower Seminar on February 8.

CAWG President Natalie Collins provided a legislative overview and update on the work that CAWG is doing at both the state and federal levels.

Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations led a panel on autonomous equipment in the vineyard. Panelists included representatives from Monarch Tractor, AMOS, NAIO, and Garton Tractor. The day ended with outdoor autonomous equipment demonstrations.

ACTIVATE23 - AgSafe's Annual Conference

AgSafe hosted its annual conference, ACTIVATE 23, February 7-9 in Monterey, CA. With more than 50 sessions being offered in English and Spanish, this two-day conference covered a wide range of critical topics from the fundamentals of health and safety.

Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations participated in two separate panels. The first panel focused on legislative updates and regulatory issues and the second panel addressed the use of autonomous equipment on California farms.

National Grape Research Alliance Elects Officers and Board of Directors

The National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) elected officers and board directors during their Annual Meeting of the members in January. The election installed a leadership team that’s as geographically and economically as diverse as the regions and sectors of the grape and wine industry whose research needs NGRA represents.

NGRA’s Board of Directors is comprised of 28 Commodity Sector, Regional, and At-Large Representatives from across the U.S., each serving staggered, three-year terms. Jessica Youngblood was elected as Chair, the first grape grower from a midwestern state to lead NGRA. Natalie Collins, president of CAWG was elected as an At-Large Representative. 

“I am pleased to have been elected part of the NGRA Board of Directors. Being part of an organization that works to align research priorities to strengthen the competitiveness of the nation’s grape industry, provides an opportunity to address and promote the priorities of California growers,” said Collins. 

Read more about the NGRA Board of Directors

Register Today - 2023 CAWG Advocacy Day

CAWG Advocacy Day is taking place on Tuesday, March 14, at the Sutter Club in Sacramento. CAWG's 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 for you with key legislators and top regulatory officials.

Advocacy Day is your opportunity to talk with and educate key policymakers about important issues affecting your business. The day will begin with breakfast and a program with key speakers, followed by legislative visits.

Following Advocacy Day, CAWG invites you to a reception at The Gualco Group, Inc. office benefiting the CAWG Foundation.

If you are interested in sponsoring either Advocacy Day or the CAWG Foundation Reception, please contact Jenny Devine.

Register for Advocacy Day

CAWG Foundation Scholarship

Each year the Foundation awards three 4-year scholarships and three 2-year scholarships to high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower. Students may study the subject of their choice.

The three 4-year scholarships provide a total of $8,000 each ($24,000 total) for any campus in the University of California or California State University system. The three 2-year scholarships provide a total of $2,000 ($6,000 total) each at any California community college.

In addition, one Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year. The Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship provides either $500 for Alan Hancock College or $1,000 for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (see the link below for the eligibility and study subject requirements of this scholarship).

The application deadline is March 4! Encourage your high school seniors to apply today!

Relief for Financial Losses from National Disasters and Pandemic Webinar

California Association of Winegrape Growers and the Wine Institute hosted a free webinar on February 9, 2023, covering federal programs available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency to recoup financial losses resulting from the COVID pandemic and natural disasters occurring in 2020 and 2021.

Agency officials reviewed eligibility requirements and payment calculations as well as explained how to complete applications for Phase II of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP). Ag producers who did not hold crop insurance but experienced financial loss from a natural disaster in 2020 or 2021 qualify for Phase II of ERP. A grower who sustained a 15% or greater decrease in allowable gross revenue in 2020 qualifies for PARP.

View the recorded webinar.

Industry News

Preliminary Grape Crush Report

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Preliminary Grape Crush Report for 2022 will be released tomorrow, February 10 at 12 PM.

For more than 40 years, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has conducted the annual Grape Crush survey through a cooperative agreement with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The Final Grape Crush Report includes all grape tonnage crushed during the crop year season including purchased tonnage and pricing information for grapes with final prices prior to January 10. Details of the crushed tonnage and weighted average prices are reported by grape type and variety, as well as by 17 grape pricing districts.

CAWG will send an update of the report's key findings following its release.

Farm Service Agency in California is Accepting Emergency Conservation Program Applications

Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Blong Xiong announced that 41 counties in California are accepting applications for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to address damages from the recent severe storm to eligible farmland, fences, and conservation structures/other installations. ECP signup will begin on February 13th, 2023, and end on April 14th, 2023.

The approved ECP practices under this authorization include debris removal, grading, shaping & leveling, fence restoration & restoring conservation structures & other installations. ECP assists producers with the recovery cost to restore the farmland to pre-disaster conditions. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures.

Counties approved for ECP: Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kings, Lake, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba. 

For More Information

Thompson, Newhouse Reconstitute Congressional Wine Caucus

Co-Chairs of the Congressional Wine CaucusRep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04) announced the reconstitution of the Wine Caucus for the 118th Congress.

“Agriculture is important to our district and to every state across our country. Winegrapes are grown in all 50 states and generate $276 billion for our economy while creating nearly two million jobs,” said Thompson. “I founded the Congressional Wine Caucus to develop a line of communication between winegrape growers and vintners and Congress. During the 118th Congress, Rep. Newhouse and I — and the entire Wine Caucus — will continue this work to support our wine community.”

"As a proud grape grower, I know firsthand the strong economic contributions made by the grape and wine producers and the issues our industry faces,” said Newhouse. “I am honored to represent the flourishing, high-quality wine region of Central Washington. I look forward to continue working with Rep. Thompson to ensure that our nation's wine industry – from wine grape growers to winemakers and sellers – can continue to thrive and grow."

California’s winegrape and wine industries are major economic drivers across our entire country, generating $170.5 billion annually in economic activity to the U.S. and $73 billion in California alone,” said Natalie Collins, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. “We appreciate the leadership of Congressman Thompson in establishing a dedicated wine caucus, committed to safeguarding an industry that creates jobs, draws tourists, and generates tax revenue for the benefit of local communities and the nation.”

In 2022, the California wine community created a direct economic impact of $88.38 billion with over 25 million tourism visits, 513,000 jobs, and nearly 4,800 wineries.

The Congressional Wine Caucus was founded in 1999 by Congressmen and winegrape growers Mike Thompson (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA) to provide a connection between winegrape growers and Congress. Today, the Caucus brings together a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress and is chaired by Thompson and Congressman Dan Newhouse.

CDFA Research Grant Proposals Available for Fruit Tree, Nut Tree, and Grapevine Improvement Advisory Board

CDFA is accepting applications for the California Fruit Tree, Nut Tree, and Grapevine Improvement Advisory Board (IAB) research grant proposals. 

The IAB funds research to promote the production of fruit tree, nut tree, and grapevines resulting in improved nursery stock. The intended research should address important disease and pest problems or other cultural aspects of fruit tree, nut tree, and grapevine nursery stock production. Funding is made possible from industry assessments. 

Projects funded through IAB commonly include elements such as research of diseases and genetic disorders, variety identification, education and outreach, alternative treatment methods, and rootstock advancements as it relates to the production of high-quality tree and grapevine nursery stock.  

Learn more on the IAB webpage

Paso Robles Groundwater Townhall

O’Neill Vintners & Distillers and California Women for Agriculture are hosting a Paso Robles Groundwater Townhall on February 15 from 2:30-4:20 PM at Robert Hall Winery.

The goal for the town hall is to help educate people industry-wide, from local growers and vineyard managers to realtors, ag finance lenders, and business owners so they can leave feeling knowledgeable and up to speed when talking to clients.

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Samantha Horn.

Immigration and Farm Labor Conference

The 2023 Immigration and Farm Labor Conference will be held on March 17, 2023, at the UC Davis Law School.

The conference will feature an opening session devoted to the outlook for immigration and farm labor; the latest data on farm workers and the H-2A program; and an exploration of how technology, trade, and other factors are affecting employment and workers in particular commodities.


There is no charge to participate, but seating is limited. To attend, you must RSVP by March 3, 2023.

Registration Information

UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Off Campus Programs

The UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Extension and Industry Relations Program is going "On The Road" in Tulare, Mendocino, and San Joaquin Counties. During these education seminars, UC Davis will present research currently being done and discuss issues that are important to the winegrape and wine industry.


  • February 28, 2023, 9 AM, University of California Research & Extension Center, Hopland
  • March 9, 2023, 9 AM, Lodi Grape Festival Grounds

Registration Information

FELS AB 2183 Card Check Trainings

Farm Employee Labor Service (FELS) is hosting FREE AB 2183 Card Check in-person trainings. Learn more about the opportunities below.

How to Prepare for Card Check

This in-person seminar by Barsamian and Moody, Attorneys at Law, will walk through the statutory changes to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, including what is card check, labor peace elections, the administrative penalties, and appeal bond requirements in the new law. The seminar is intended for owner-operators, managers, human resources personnel, and farm labor contractors (FLCs). FLC representatives are encouraged to attend. 



  • March 3, 2023, 10 AM, Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Register Here

Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)

On March 15, 2023, the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology will present

"Recent Advances in Viticulture & Enology (RAVE)" at the UC Davis Conference Center.


The seminar provides the opportunity for active participants in the wine and winegrape industry to hear researchers discuss their latest projects and ongoing research in an open forum where discussion is encouraged.

Registration closes on March 12.

Agenda and Registration Information

SAVE THE DATE - 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!



4 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline

14 - 2023 CAWG Advocacy Day

14 - CAWG Foundation Reception


16 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Golf Tournament



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