Your source for CAWG and industry news
July 14, 2016      

July 20
CAWG PAC Golf Tournament and  5th Annual Awards of Excellence Program & Dinner, Monterey 
July 21
CAWG Summer Conference, Speaker Program and Annual Business Meeting, Monterey
July 22
CAWG Board of Directors Meeting, Monterey

November 10-11
CAWG Board of Directors Meeting, Santa Rosa

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We are looking forward to the CAWG Summer Conference next week! If you have not yet registered, but would still like to join us, register today! Click on the following links:

House Passes Interior-EPA Funding Bill
The House of Representatives today passed a bill to provide $32.1 billion in funding for the Department of Interior and the U.S. EPA. Included in the bill is language intended to aid the flow of water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to communities and farmers in the Central Valley and Southern California. The water bill language includes key components of a previously passed bill, H.R. 2898, sponsored by Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford). The bill establishes minimum pumping requirements through the Delta, unless the long-term survival of the Delta smelt or Chinook salmon are jeopardized. The bill also seeks to increase pumping during high water flow events, like that experienced this past winter, circumventing current restrictions which prevented diversions of water due to perceived threats to Delta smelt and Chinook salmon. The bill would also prohibit the use of federal funds to implement the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Agreement, which is intended to aid communities reliant on the Friant Unit of the Central Valley Project.
On an unrelated matter, the Interior-EPA funding bill also would block EPA's implementation of its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

House Passes GMO Labeling Bill
From The Hill: A bill to create a federal labeling standard for foods with genetically modified ingredients and block states from issuing their own laws sailed through the House today.  The bill, which passed 306-117, directs USDA to create a national labeling standard that allows food producers to choose how they want to disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients.  The bill passed the Senate last week and is now expected to be signed by President Obama.

IMPORTANT: New Guidance on Produce Safety Rule 

Compliance with the requirements of FDA's Produce Safety Rule does not go into effect this year, as previously reported. The compliance timeline for the commercial processing exemption is staggered, based on farm sales, and the earliest effective date for winegrape growers and wineries is January 2018. The delayed compliance timeline is good news.
In 2011, President Obama signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). As a result of the FSMA, FDA promulgated a Produce Safety Rule, which was published last November and went into effect this past January.
The Produce Safety Rule established minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce on farms to minimize contamination that could cause foodborne illness. However, the commercial processing exemption offers grape growers an exemption from the requirements of the rule, provided growers sell their grapes to a processor (i.e., a winery) and the grapes are processed in a manner that eliminates potentially harmful microorganisms.
Based on the analysis and explicit guidance provided to CAWG by Downey Brand, LLP, the association advised its members that growers of winegrapes must take specific steps beginning with this year's harvest in order to qualify for the commercial processing exemption. Earlier this week, Downey Brand changed its opinion. The law firm now advises that compliance with the requirements of the commercial processing exemption is not required until January 2018, at the earliest.
In a July 11 email communication to CAWG president John Aguirre, Leila Bruderer of Downey Brand wrote, "I wanted to notify you and CAWG's members of my mistake as soon as possible, and apologize to CAWG and its members that I provided incorrect information."
The correct compliance dates for the requirements of the commercial processing exemption are as follows:
>Large farms (produce sales $500,000 or more (based upon a 3-year rolling average of sales, indexed to 2011) must demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the commercial processing exemption by Jan. 26, 2018.
>Farms with sales between $250,000, but less than $500,000, and not eligible for the qualified exemption must demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the commercial processing exemption by Jan. 28, 2019.
>Small farms (sales more than $25,000, but less than $250,000 and not eligible for the qualified exemption must demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the commercial processing exemption by Jan. 27, 2020.
CAWG will work with the Wine Institute to develop and communicate consistent guidance to the winegrowing industry on the necessary steps to qualify for the commercial processing exemption.

AB 1066: Contact or Visit Legislators Soon

California legislators are going to vote on ag overtime bill AB 1066 in August after they return from summer recess. It's critical that CAWG members contact or schedule a face-to-face meeting with their legislator to oppose this resurrected bill (formerly the failed AB 2757). Legislators are in their district offices now. 

California Towns Getting Affordable Farmworker Housing Through USDA Grant

Housing projects in the cities of Woodland, Bakersfield, Ukiah, McFarland, Greenfield and Calexico will receive funds to develop affordable farmworker housing. USDA announced on July 13 that $26 million will help provide safe and sanitary housing for farmworkers in four states. The funding will support 439 rental units in California, Florida, Kansas and Texas. To help alleviate a shortage of affordable housing in Calistoga, Calif., the Corporation for Better Housing last year opened the doors to a 48-unit farm labor housing complex.

It's Official: National Farmers Market Week

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on July 11 signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 7-13, 2016, as National Farmers Market Week. This year marks the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week to honor and celebrate the important role that farmers markets play in local economies. One of the largest farmers markets in California is the Thursday evening market in downtown San Luis Obispo, which draws more than 10,000 people weekly.


The wide swings in weather conditions this year highlight the impact of different pruning practices on how vines have responded so far this season. Western Farm Press, July 13
Researchers are educating growers about proper water sampling methods in orchards and vineyards (Produce Safety Rule and Food Safety Modernization Act). Good Fruit Grower, July 13
The Sonoma County wine industry has ramped up its efforts to improve social and economic conditions for the estimated 4,000 to 6,000 farmworkers who permanently live here. The Press Democrat, July 11
A new proposal would toughen federal labeling standards on a bottle of wine, controlling more tightly wineries' claims of vintage dates, varietals and geographic region where the grapes are grown. The Press Democrat, July 11
The 2016 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Award recipients are: Wine Industry Person of the Year, Jean-Pierre Wolff, Wolff Vineyards; Winemaker of the Year, Steve Peck, J.Lohr Vineyards & Wines; and Winegrape Grower of the Year, Bob Thomas, Mesa Vineyard Management. They will be honored at the Mid-State Fair on July 22.

DWR Marks 60th Anniversary

The latest issue of DWR Magazine highlights the Department of Water Resources' 60th anniversary, the drought vs. El NiƱo, and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program.

Water Articles and Resources

Missed the CAWG Webinars? Listen to the Recordings

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Vineyard Tax Benefits - click here
USDA/NRCS Programs for Winegrape Growers - click here
Heat Illness - click here

UCD Oakville Experimental Station Seminar Series

When: July 15 / 1-5 p.m.
In this first-ever Oakville Station Seminar Series program, professor Antonello Bonfante from the Institute for Mediterranean Agricultural and Forestry Systems will present the results of his research in a lecture -"Viticultural Zoning Supported by a Physically-Based Model of Soil, Plant and Atmospheric Systems." Dr. Kaan Kurtural, UCD viticulture extension specialist at Oakville, will lead a tour of the three new research plots and discuss other research conducted there. Dr. Luca Brillante, from the Oakville lab, will also discuss research. Barbecue and reception to follow the seminar.

UCD Researchers Study Colored Shade Nets on Grapes

A trial at a UC Davis experimental vineyard (Oakville Experimental Station) - conducted by Dr. Kaan Kurtural and enology extension specialist Dr. Anita Oberholster - attempts to manage grape chemistry with light exposure. 

FREE Farm Labor Contractor Licensing Workshops

The Department of Labor and the Labor Commissioner's Office are offering free workshops to assist current or prospective farm labor contractors. Consultants will be available for one-on-one review of first-time licensing or renewal applications. Laptops will be available for application submission and online exams. Reservations are required. Send an email to and provide the location of where you will attend.
July 15
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
California State Building
1515 Clay Street, main lobby
Each Friday
9 - 11 a.m.
Labor Commissioner's Office
770 E. Shaw Ave., Suite 222
Please visit the Labor Commissioner's Office FLC website for application instructions.

Labor Enforcement Task Force Fact Sheet on Agriculture

The Department of Industrial Relations Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) has designed new mobile versions of fact sheets - including one for agricultural employers - to help employers understand and follow labor, licensing and payroll tax laws. The LETF booklet "What are your rights as a worker?" (available in English and Spanish) helps workers understand their rights regarding minimum wage and overtime, rest and meal breaks, safety and health on the job, and benefits for those injured or unemployed. Th e mobile versions are readable on phones and mobile devices.

Cal Chamber Releases Midyear Employment Law Update

CalChamber's free " 2016 Midyear Employment Law Update" white paper reviews some of the more significant developments to date:
  • Wage and hour
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Disability related protections
  • Working conditions and workplace safety

Grape Day at Fresno State 

AUG. 2 / 7 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Grape Day is an informal workshop and field day at Fresno State for grape growers, managers, winemakers and winery personnel. The program includes updates and practical presentations on current grape and wine topics. Other features include tours of Fresno State vineyards, the grape and wine facilities, and the Jordan Agricultural Research Center. Advance registration by July 28 is $20.

FREE California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Webinars 

Sustainable self-assessment and certification webinars
JULY 27 / 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. 
Click here

AUG. 19: 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Click here