March 7, 2024




This Week's eNews Includes:

CAWG News:

  • When 100% Is Not Complete
  • House Passes First Funding Package to Avert Shutdown
  • Workplace Violence Prevention
  • The Winegrape Update - March 13 @ 2:30 PM
  • 2024 Advocacy Day - March 12
  • CAWG Introduces Compost Tax Credit Legislation

Industry News:

  • Billions Saved For Policyholders, They Say
  • CalCompetes Tax Credit Application Open
  • UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours – Information about Spotted Lanternfly
  • UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology On the Road Programs
  • Tax Resources for USDA Program Participants
  • California Energy Price Data - February 2024

Upcoming Events:

  • 2-Day Regenerative Winegrowing Workshop
  • U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit


When 100% Is Not Complete

In California, Election Night shows up on the calendar as the first Tuesday following the first Monday in February for the primary in Presidential elections and the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November for the general election. However, for California, voters the election really runs from the time the ballots hit mailboxes a few weeks in advance of election day through 30 days after election day. 


This is because votes are often cast by mail in advance and up until 8:00 PM on election day. Late ballots are also received from overseas members of the military, and there are often delays in counting provisional ballots, unsigned ballots, etc. But when the media and voting officials report the outcome, they often refer to the number of precincts reporting. 

For example, “32 out of 48 precincts reporting.” At some point, they will get to 48 out of 48 and state “100% of precincts reporting.” One might reasonably think this means the count is final. However, this is just not the case. According to the Secretary of State, “100% reporting may mean that at least one vote has been cast and counted per precinct.” Consequently, we really won’t know the outcome of some close races until April 12 when election results are certified.

Two races of interest to growers are in the Lodi area. Moderate Democrats Carlos and Edith Villapudua are running against progressive Democrats Jerry McNerney and Rhodesia Ransom. Currently, Carlos Villapudua trails McNerney by a 32% to 24% margin in the Senate race. Edith Villapudua trails Ransom 40% to 23% in the Assembly race. Those numbers will no doubt change in the weeks ahead. But sadly, it is doubtful they will change enough for the Villapuduas to catch up and claim victory. 

Quote of the Week:

“When I say the new normal, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to have campaign fires every fire season, but it does mean that when we do get one, we gotta be ready,” said Christopher Thompson, chair of Napa Firewise. “It’s not a question of if we’re gonna get it, it’s a question of when.”

House Passes First Funding Package to Avert Shutdown

On Sunday, March 3rd, the U.S. House and Senate released the text of an agreement on FY 2024 appropriations for six bills. Yesterday, the House passed a package of these six spending bills teeing up a vote in the Senate to pass the legislation and avert a partial government shutdown by Friday’s deadline. The package included the bills that fund the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The current appropriations package encompasses crucial funding that CAWG has advocated for including the following:

A $300,000 increase for USDA's Office of Pest Management Policy to advocate for science-based pesticide policy on behalf of U.S. agricultural producers with the EPA and other Federal pesticide policymakers.

$1.16 billion to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), representing a reduction of $10 million from FY 2023. Despite the overall reduction, the agreement includes increases within the base funding for high-priority initiatives aimed at protecting the nation's plant and animal resources from pests and diseases. These initiatives include $500,000 each for the control and eradication of the spotted lanternfly and fruit fly management.

The bill earmarks $5.5 million to support research on the effects of smoke on winegrapes and wine, representing a $500,000 increase from FY2023. Furthermore, the bill includes a provision exempting produce rarely consumed raw, such as winegrapes, from regulations under the Produce Safety Rule through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The agencies covered by the other six appropriations bills not included in this package are funded through Friday, March 22.


Bill Information:

  • The bill text for the appropriations package can be found here.
  • The explanatory report for USDA and FDA can be found here.
  • The explanatory report including EPA can be found here, with the EPA section beginning on page 34. 

Workplace Violence Prevention

Last year, Governor Newsom signed into law SB 553 (Cortese, D-San Jose), which goes into effect July 1, 2024, and requires employers to have a plan in place for workplace violence prevention. This week, with no public announcement, Cal/OSHA released its model plan to assist employers in drafting their plans to come into compliance


It is important to keep in mind that a plan is required for every workplace. This means that it probably will not be sufficient to adopt one plan for multiple locations. Developing these plans is going to take some time. Therefore, growers are advised to get started on this ASAP if you have not so already, and to please consult with your HR professional or legal counsel.


Interestingly, while this new law is set to take effect in three months, the legislature is also considering SB 1345 (Smallwood-Cuevas, D-Los Angeles) which seems to go in the opposite direction. This new legislation would make it more difficult for employers to consider a job applicant’s criminal history when hiring or to take action against an employee who hid their criminal history in the interview process. CAWG is opposed to this bill because growers want to keep the workplace safe.  

The Winegrape Update - March 13 @ 2:30 PM

Join CAWG for The Winegrape Update, a monthly virtual gathering designed exclusively for CAWG members. This platform offers a unique opportunity to connect with our dedicated staff, industry guests, and fellow members. Share your challenges and opportunities and directly influence CAWG's understanding of the issues you face.

March's agenda will include a recap on CAWG's Advocacy along with an overview of CAWG's priority legislation with CAWG Board Chair, Gregg Hibbits and CAWG's Director of Government Relations, Michael Miiller. 

Register Today!

2024 Advocacy Day

More than 50 growers will join CAWG for Advocacy Day next week! CAWG's Government Relations team has reviewed more than 2,000 bills and is prepped and ready with legislative priorities for the year ahead.


Following Advocacy Day, CAWG invites members to a Prelude Kitchen + Bar office reception benefiting the CAWG Foundation.

Register today!

Thank you, 2024 Advocacy Day Sponsors!

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

CAWG Introduces Compost Tax Credit Legislation

Senator Monique Limón, (D-Santa Barbara) introduced SB 1135 to establish the California Compost Tax Credit Fund. This legislation seeks to incentivize sustainable agricultural practices, undertaken by winegrape growers and other ag producers, by offering a tax credit for the utilization of compost to enhance carbon sequestration efforts. This legislation is co-sponsored by the California Association of Winegrape Growers. 

“I am proud to author SB 1135 to establish a tax credit for California farmers, ranchers, and landowners who maximize carbon sequestration through the use of compost on natural and working lands,” said Senator Limón. “This legislation will help incentivize the utilization of compost to aid in natural carbon sequestration while also aiding the effort of the state to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.” 

Read More

Industry News

Billions Saved For Policyholders, They Say

Consumer Watchdog, founded by Harvey Rosenfield, faces criticism from the insurance industry and California's insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara. The group has been key in shaping CA's insurance laws, notably Proposition 103, which Rosenfield helped write.

The law requires insurers to get approval for rate increases, allowing groups like Consumer Watchdog to intervene, often resulting in lower approved rates. The insurance industry argues this system incentivizes challenging rate increases.

The relationship between Consumer Watchdog and the insurance industry has become increasingly contentious, with industry groups criticizing the intervener process and lobbying for changes in regulations. Commissioner Lara, who initially received support from Consumer Watchdog, has faced backlash from the group for accepting campaign contributions from individuals and companies tied to the insurance industry and for his proposed reforms to speed up rate filings.

While the debate between Consumer Watchdog and the insurance industry continues, many insurers are limiting new policies in California due to regulatory challenges. Lara’s office is working to streamline the rate filing process, but any changes are expected to take time to implement.

Despite criticism, Consumer Watchdog remains a prominent consumer advocate in the insurance debate.

Read More

CalCompetes Tax Credit Application Open

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) is now accepting applications for the California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC). There is at least $164 million available in tax credits for businesses expanding and adding quality, full-time jobs in California.

Applications are due Monday, March 18, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time), and the online application can be accessed at

An updated application guide, FAQs, a recorded webinar, and program regulations are available for interested applicants at A free application webinar is also available for businesses interested in learning more about the program on March 14, 2024.

For questions about the California Competes program or the application process, contact (916) 322-4051 or email

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

Earlier this week, UC Davis hosted UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Office Hours – Information about Spotted Lanternfly.


If you missed the presentation, a recording of the session is available on Aggie Video, UC Davis' YouTube Channel, and website.

If you attended, please take a moment to complete the following survey. Your feedback helps the college continue to provide relevant and valuable content and information.

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. 

Tax Resources for USDA Program Participants

Receiving funds from the USDA, such as conservation program payments or disaster assistance, counts as farm income and comes with tax implications for farm businesses. It's important to note that USDA technical assistance is free and does not carry tax implications.

At the end of the tax year, USDA issues tax forms 1098 and 1099 for various programs, including farm loans, conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program, crop disaster payments, and the Market Facilitation Program. Forms are also issued for assistance to distressed borrowers under Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act.

While USDA cannot provide tax advice, they offer resources to help manage tax liability. Monthly webinars are available for registration and on-demand viewing at The Tax Estimator Tool, an interactive spreadsheet for estimating tax liability, is also available for download. This tool is for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered tax or legal advice. It's recommended to consult with a tax professional to determine the correct information for the tool.

For more information visit

California Energy Price Data - February 2024

California's energy rankings show an ongoing decline in residential sectors, while fuel and commercial electricity rates remain the highest among contiguous states and DC. This trend suggests California's energy policies are leading its economy into uncharted territory, diverging from its previous experience with economic growth.

California continued to have the highest gasoline and diesel prices among the contiguous states and DC. The average price of regular gasoline rose 12 cents in February, and Californians paid $1.52 more than consumers in other states. The January average price per gallon of diesel in California rose 7 cents from January to $5.39.

Read More

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

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 Today!



1 - CAWG Foundation Scholarship Deadline

12 - CAWG Advocacy Day and CAWG Foundation Reception

13 - The Winegrape Update


20 - CAWG Foundation 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament



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