March 2024

California Vine Lines is a bimonthly publication of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) to offer policymakers a snapshot of what is occurring in the grape-growing and wine industry. Please click on any of the links for more information about the issues highlighted below.  

Affordable Housing on Ag Land

“We’re pushing forward for legislation to streamline that process so people can build more housing on ag land,” Michael Miiller, CAWG director of government relations, told about 60 association members gathered on March 12 in Sacramento for a day of advocacy and legislative updates. AB 2746 would be a pilot project that would be in place for seven years in seven yet-to-be-specified counties. The project would then be evaluated before the next steps are taken.

Growers Scrap Vineyards

A once-in-a-generation downturn in the wine market is reshaping California’s grape-growing regions as farmers tear out vines to rebalance supply with declining demand.

“There are going to be hundreds if not thousands of acres of vineyards that growers wanted to remove but they couldn’t get a contractor and equipment in there in time,” Lange said. “We’re headed towards a brick wall.”

Pierce’s Disease Control Program 

Assemblywoman Dawn Addis, (D-Morro Bay) introduced AB 1861 to extend a vital program within the California Department of Food and Agriculture that protects California’s picturesque vineyards and iconic wine industry from deadly disease. This legislation is sponsored by the California Association of Winegrape Growers and Wine Institute.

CAWG’s Farmworker Scholarship Program

Please join the California Association of Winegrape Growers Foundation for the 5th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament. The scholarship is specifically for the children whose parent/guardian is employed by a CA winegrape grower. We are very excited to once again host this very popular event on Monday, May 20, at the Wildhorse Golf Club, Davis, CA. The Foundation is offering at least six scholarships in 2024 to graduating high school seniors. Learn more at

Imported Foreign Bulk Wine

Clearly, bulk and bottled imports have had a profound impact on the demand for California winegrapes. What is frustrating to growers is that many of the largest buyers of California winegrapes are also the largest importers of foreign bulk wine. This situation is exacerbated by a global oversupply of wine which allows wineries to source incredibly cheap foreign bulk wine to reduce their cost of goods sold. Where is all this imported bulk wine ending up? Much of it is in plain sight on the grocery store shelves, labeled as “American” wine. Federal TTB (Tax & Trade Bureau) regulations allow for up to 25% foreign (non-US) wine to be blended with California wine and legally labeled “American.”

Allegations of Fraudulent Conduct

"Copies of employee declarations reviewed by The Californian, with workers' names redacted, state some who signed union authorization cards wished to withdraw their support of the UFW. They say, in language consistent across the short stack of documents, that their participation in the declarations process was "purely voluntary," that they had no reason to fear retaliation from the company and that they were not promised any benefit in exchange for their statements.

Helping Canada Winemakers Become Resilient

Edward Terry, assistant winemaker at Pearl Morissette Estate Winery in Jordan Station, Ont., said the last two years were challenging for his team's vineyards. In 2022, frost killed most of the vines at one of their locations. He said Pearl Morissette has received grants from the federal program, and that any extra support helps. In addition to producing wine, he said his business also wants to care for the land and pay its workers well.

California growers are facing many of the same climate change challenges facing growers in Canada.  

About the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG)

Founded in 1974, CAWG stands as the statewide advocate for winegrape growers, representing the interests of California's winegrape industry. Our mission is to foster collaboration and advocate for policies that ensure the continued success of this economically vital industry.

California Association of Winegrape Growers

1121 L Street, Suite 304Sacramento, CA

Michael Miiller, Director of Government Relations 379-8995 or (916) 204-0485