February 1, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • The Environment vs. The Environment
  • SAVE THE DATE - CAWG's 2024 Advocacy Day
  • Wine Country Legislative Leadership
  • Call for FFA Chapters
  • Unified's 30th Anniversary Video
  • CAWG Presents to Rotary Club of Sacramento
  • Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Vit Tech Seminar: CA Viticultural Trends
  • CAWG is Hiring: Administrative Assistant

Industry News:

  • ETP Announces $10 Million in Funding for Ag Worker Training
  • California Mobilizes Ahead of Next Round of Storms, Urges Communities to Prepare
  • Remembering Deborah Golino
  • Invasive Fruit Flies Website
  • Sonoma County Winegrowers Announce a Collaboration with John Deere for the ‘Farm of the Future’
  • Will More Outdoor Drinking Give California Economy A Buzz?
  • USDA Now Accepting Farm Loan Payments Online

Upcoming Events:

  • Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association 2024 Grower Seminar
  • Sonoma Grower Education Meeting
  • Grape Crush Boundary Change Regulations Additional Hearing Scheduled
  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours: Information about Spotted Lanternfly
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

REMINDER: CAWG Membership Renewals - RENEW TODAY!

Second invoices were mailed last month! Need a copy of your invoice? Contact Mindy DeRohan.


The Environment vs. The Environment

Rural CA Loses?

As California moves away from reliance on fossil fuels and increases its reliance on electricity, it is important to look at whether our energy supply is both affordable and reliable. This is especially crucial for growers in rural areas who may already be paying some of the highest utility prices in the nation. 

On the affordability side of things, consider that in California, electric rates increased 78% between 2013-2021, 16% in 2022, and 14% in 2023. They’re scheduled to increase 17.6% in 2024, 10.5% in 2025, 9.2% in 2026, and 7.7% in 2027. Some of the most significant factors driving high electric bills are fuel costs, taxes, energy policies, and costs associated with meeting peak demand. 

On the reliability side of things, demand is rising quickly as the population moves to electric vehicles, electric stoves, (electric everything?).  The grid already has substantial problems meeting that demand and those problems will likely just get worse. Especially when one looks at the efforts to protect against wildfires and a grid that is in dire need of structural improvements – Which is incredibly costly and time-intensive.

When considering both reliability and affordability, one must also remember that it wasn’t that long ago that utility companies were pursuing hydropower as a viable supply of cheap and reliable electricity. On a related note, this week Governor Newsom released his strategy to protect salmon — a plan that includes removal of aging dams that prevent salmon from returning to the streams of their birth to lay eggs. Two of those dams are along the Eel River and are owned by Pacific Gas & Electric and no longer produce hydropower.

The motivation to move away from fossil fuels is primarily to protect the environment, which means we must increase our supply of electricity. The move to take out hydropower dams is also to protect the environment. But this means taking one potential source of electricity off the table.

This is just one example of an environment vs. environment reality that directly affects a fragile power supply in the Golden State, especially in rural areas.  

SAVE THE DATE - CAWG's 2024 Advocacy Day:

Mark your calendars for CAWG Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 12, hosted at the Sutter Club in Sacramento. Led by the dynamic team of Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations, and Jack Gualco from The Gualco Group, Inc., this promises to be a day filled with invaluable insights as you engage with key legislators and regulatory officials.

Advocacy Day is your chance to personally connect with policymakers, offering a platform to enlighten them on crucial issues impacting your business. Don't miss this opportunity to make your voice heard and actively participate in shaping the future of your industry.

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

Register for Advocacy Day

Wine Country Legislative Leadership

On Monday, Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) will be sworn in as leader of the State Senate. McGuire represents much of the North Coast and is very engaged in the wine industry. He co-chairs the Senate Select Committee on California’s Wine Industry, and in 2018, McGuire authored legislation to continue the Pierce’s Disease Control Program. 

McGuire joins Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) in leading the California Legislature. Rivas appointed Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) to top leadership roles. This means that the Central Coast and wine country from Clarksburg to the coastal Oregon border are represented by leaders in the Assembly.

It is unknown who McGuire will choose to serve in Senate leadership roles. McGuire is a short-term leader in the Senate as he will term out in 2026. But in that period, he will be instrumental in elections, the state budget, and pending legislation for the next two or three years. Additionally, whom he chooses to serve now in leadership roles will be well-positioned to move up when McGuire leaves office.

Our industry needs to have strong leadership in both houses that understand the wine industry and the challenges we face.  

Call for FFA Chapters

CAWG is seeking FFA Chapters across California to collaborate on building 200 owl boxes. CAWG will provide a stipend covering material costs, along with detailed plans and educational materials highlighting the benefits of owl boxes in agriculture and the significance of sustainability.

Part of CAWG's CalAgAPlate Grant, titled "Creating a Sustainable Future: Owl Box Construction for Hands-On Agricultural Learning," offers FFA students a unique hands-on experience. These purpose-built boxes will be distributed to winegrape growers as part of CAWG's upcoming 50th-anniversary celebration.

Owl boxes play a crucial role in promoting owl populations and supporting biodiversity in the vineyard ecosystem. By encouraging natural predators, this project aligns with sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices, essential for the long-term success of the grape-growing industry. The educational components seamlessly align with FFA's mission to nurture and develop young agricultural leaders.

Please share with FFA Chapters in your area! FFA Chapters interested in participating can email mindy@cawg.org for more information.

Unified's 30th Anniversary Video

In 1995, 500 attendees and 20 tabletop exhibitors gathered in a single hotel ballroom for the very first Unified Symposium -- fast forward 30 years, and 10,000 attendees and 900 exhibitors from around the world flooded into downtown Sacramento.

Organized by the industry, for the industry, the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium is the largest show of its kind. Explore the rich history of the show and its pivotal role in the wine and winegrape industries in this video.

CAWG Presents to Rotary Club of Sacramento

This week, Natalie Collins, CAWG President, delivered a keynote address at The Rotary Club of Sacramento's membership meeting.

She delved into the economic significance of the winegrape and wine industry, highlighting its substantial contributions to California and beyond. Natalie emphasized the pivotal role of the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in shaping the winegrape industry and its positive impact on downtown Sacramento.

The presentation covered insightful discussions on industry trends, including wine consumption, sales, and the delicate balance of supply and demand in relation to winegrape plantings.

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Vit Tech Seminar: CA Viticultural Trends

Industry professionals gathered in Paso Robles for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Vit Tech Seminar today. The event focused on the latest trends in California viticulture and provided a platform for experts to discuss advancements and innovations shaping the future of wine production.

Michael Miiller, CAWG's Director of Government Relation delved into the world of AgTech, shedding light on the regulatory structure and emerging trends in pest management. Other speakers included CAWG member Steve McIntyre with Monterey Pacific who focused on biochar applications, and carbon sequestration. Allison Jordan, Executive Director of CSWA talked about sustainability and climate action within the viticultural landscape.

CAWG is Hiring: Administrative Assistant

CAWG is excited to announce that it is currently accepting applications for a part-time administrative assistant.

An ideal candidate will provide administrative, clerical, and computer support for the association aiming to deliver comprehensive administrative assistance, facilitate efficient communication among team members, ensure seamless coordination of tasks and events, and enhance overall productivity.

This is a part-time position, averaging 20-25 hours per week, with an hourly rate. This position offers room for growth, with the potential for increased hours and responsibilities.

Interested candidates should submit their resume, cover letter, and any inquiries to Carolee Williams.

Please share with those who may be interested.

Industry News

ETP Announces $10 Million in Funding for Ag Worker Training

California’s Employment Training Panel (ETP) has announced that $10 million in funding is available through an Agriculture Initiative designed to serve agricultural businesses and workers. The funding will be used to provide training for farmworkers and help them gain new skills and career opportunities.


CDFA will be hosting a live

briefing session via Zoom for those who want to learn more about the ETP funds

for ag worker training on Friday, February 2, 2024, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Meeting Details:


Meeting ID: 686 132 5291

Passcode: Cdfa!220

California Mobilizes Ahead of Next Round of Storms, Urges Communities to Prepare

California is gearing up for 10 days of significant weather challenges. Anticipated heavy rain, high winds, deep snow, and potential flash flooding pose risks across the state, prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to activate the State Operations Center in Mather. This move aims to coordinate a unified response involving state, local, and federal agencies.

Governor Newsom has also instructed the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to lead an early and strategic effort, positioning state personnel and equipment in communities most vulnerable to damage before the storms intensify. The state is taking additional measures, activating the Flood Operations Center to enhance coordination and utilizing California’s spillways to address potential flooding.

According to the National Weather Service, the forecast outlines a substantial series of weather systems set to impact the state. Starting this week, moderate to heavy rainfall, accumulating mountain snow, and gusty winds reaching 60-70 miles per hour are expected.

Remembering Deborah Golino

Deborah Golino, beloved former director of Foundation Plant Services (FPS), passed away on December 23, 2023. Deborah had a profound impact on the programs and people she nurtured at FPS, her colleagues in the field of plant pathology, and the industry members she worked with. Her obituary was published in the Davis Enterprise.

The Department of Plant Pathology and FPS are planning a Celebration of Life for Deborah on Saturday, April 27, at 2:00 pm. The event will be held at the UC Davis Conference Center, with a Zoom feed available for remote attendance. RSVP for the UC Davis event is requested, and can be done using this online form.

Deborah’s family has shared that the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Davis was her favorite charity and UC Davis has established a memorial fund in her name, which can be accessed here.

Invasive Fruit Flies Website

CDFA is actively managing a string of invasive fruit fly outbreaks in both northern and southern California including the first-ever quarantines in the Western Hemisphere for two specific flies—the Queensland Fruit Fly and the Tau Fruit Fly.

If you reside in a quarantine area, it's advised that you refrain from transporting any homegrown produce from your property.

The Industry FAQ is now live on CDFA’s website.


Additionally, here are additional documents from CDFA that may be helpful:

Sonoma County Winegrowers Announce a Collaboration with John Deere for the ‘Farm of the Future’

Sonoma County Winegrowers announced a collaboration with John Deere as part of its innovative Farm of the Future initiative. This initiative, serving as a living lab for agriculture and innovation, allows winegrowers and companies to pilot concepts for potential industry-changing solutions.

John Deere joins other notable companies such as Ford Pro and Wilbur Ellis in contributing to exploring mechanization and resource efficiency to enhance vineyard longevity.

“I am so excited to announce that we have begun working with John Deere given that our farmers love their tractors. This new collaboration will be one of the most significant developments for winegrapes and other high value crops,” said Karissa Kruse, president and CEO of the Sonoma County Winegrowers. She added, “Companies are drawn to Sonoma County because we are one of the world’s most sustainable winegrowing regions, and our living lab provides amazing real-world applications focused on achieving game-changing solutions. We want to be the model for the future of agriculture everywhere. With John Deere, we will be learning together how our farmers can do more with less resources while moving towards more mechanization to increase the longevity of their vineyards.”

Read More

Will More Outdoor Drinking Give California Economy A Buzz?

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 969, aiming to establish "entertainment zones" in California where bars and restaurants can serve alcoholic beverages for public consumption on streets and sidewalks. If passed, this measure would allow outdoor drinking in designated areas for Californians aged 21 and over by January 1, 2025.

Wiener argues that the bill could revitalize downtown areas hit by declining foot traffic since the pandemic, citing recovery statistics from the University of Toronto. San Jose and San Francisco support the bill, seeing it as a way to boost local businesses and downtown activities.

The proposal is likely to face opposition from neighborhood groups concerned about potential nuisances and noise, as well as organizations addressing alcohol-related health impacts and harm. Similar legislation (SB 76), also authored by Wiener, faced criticism from groups like the California Alcohol Policy Alliance and Alcohol Justice last year but was ultimately successful.

The new bill has not yet been referred to a committee, but Wiener’s office is optimistic the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization will likely consider it. The hearing is expected to take place in March when the public will also have a chance to comment.

Read More

USDA Now Accepting Farm Loan Payments Online

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that most farm loan borrowers will soon be able to make payments to their direct loans online through the Pay My Loan feature on farmers.gov in early February.

Pay My Loan is part of a broader effort by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to streamline its processes, especially for producers who may have limited time during the planting or harvest seasons to visit a local FSA office; modernize and improve customer service; provide additional customer self-service tools; and expand credit access to assist more producers.   


Learn More

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association 2024 Grower Seminar

Join the Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association (SVVGA) for their annual grower seminar. The meeting will focus on the state of the winegrape industry, 2024 regulatory changes, State and Federal legislation changes, and new technology for aerial assessments of vineyards.

Speakers will include Natalie Collins, CAWG President, Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations, and Jeff Bitter, Allied Grape Growers, and CAWG Director.

When and Where:

  • February 6, 7:30 - 11:30 AM, Bally Keal Estate, Suisun Valley

Sonoma Grower Education Meeting

Join the Sonoma County Winegrowers, California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau for a Grower Education Meeting. The meeting will focus on updated tax laws and tax preparation, and an update on state and federal issues. 

Speakers will include Natalie Collins, CAWG President, and Michael Miiller, CAWG Director of Government Relations. 

When and Where:

  • February 27, 9-11 AM, Sonoma County Farm Bureau Office, Santa Rosa

Register Here

Grape Crush Boundary Change Regulations Additional Hearing Scheduled

CDFA has scheduled an additional regulatory hearing for February 28, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. to be held virtually regarding proposed amendments to California Code of Regulations, Title 3, Division 3, Chapter 2, Article 1 – Reports by grape processors. The Notice was originally published on June 9, 2023 in Notice Register 2023, Z2023-0530-02.


The date and location of the regulatory hearing is as follows:

Date and Time: February 28, 2024 at 10:00 AM

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82828708910?pwd=TDF5M1EwQTdlbWxFWS96UVYya2x1dz09

Meeting ID: 828 2870 8910

Passcode: *YveyY6r

Call in: (669) 444 9171

Call In Passcode: 35645164


For more information, visit CDFA's website.

UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours: Information about Spotted Lanternfly

Join UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours for a an information session focused on Spotted Lanternfly.

Cindy Kron, UCANR Integrated Pest Management Advisor, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties, will give a short presentation about Spotted lanternfly followed by a Q&A session. Topics will include the origin and current US distribution, host plants and preferred host plants (tree-of-heaven and grapevines), identification of life stages, and how and where to report sightings. It is free to attend but registration is required. 

When and Where:

  • March 5, 1-2 PM, Zoom

Register Here

U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

Join the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and co-hosts from California, Washington, New York, and Oregon for the U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit.

Explore innovative sustainable and climate-beneficial practices implemented in vineyards and wineries nationwide, along with insights into the broader value chain. Find inspiration and gather ideas for effectively communicating sustainable winegrowing narratives to both consumers and the trade. Join discussions and connect with like-minded individuals committed to sustainability in the wine industry.

When and Where:

  • April 30 - May 1, Lodi

Register Here - Early Bird Registration Ends February 29!



14 - The Winegrape Update


1 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline

12 - CAWG Advocacy Day and CAWG Foundation Reception


20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament



Facebook  Twitter