1 California Association of Winegrape Growers thecrush volume 42, issue 4 A p r i l 2015 Impacts of Trellis System, Canopy Management on Wine Flavor Many vineyard site and management factors can influence grape quality, and ultimately, wine flavor. Trellis systems and canopy management were explored at a recent UC Davis (UCD) seminar presented by the Department of Viticulture and Enology. The seminar, The Impact of Several Vineyard Factors on Wine Flavor, highlighted recent trials with trellis systems designed for mechanization. Indications are that selecting the right labor saving trellis system can deliver higher yields and produce grapes with flavor and quality comparable to those produced from trellis systems requiring substantially greater labor to manage. Vertical-shoot-positioned (VSP) trellis systems can provide more uniform fruit exposure, and can be mechanically harvested, but are more suitable for cooler climates. In warm regions, fruit sunburn is a risk with VSP, and California Sprawl is a better choice for shade protection while allowing mechanized harvest. Quadrilateral and horizontally-divided canopy systems can provide good fruit exposure, and high quality and yield, but are less suited to mechanization. Box-pruned, or box-hedged, trellises may be better in higher vigor sites and are used more in the Central Valley and Central Coast to increase mechanization and reduce labor needs and costs. Trellis Choice Affects Fruit Exposure, Quality For Cabernet Sauvignon, greater fruit exposure plus water stress equals more tannins. Also, greater fruit exposure equals higher tartaric acid levels. Greater fruit exposure reduces pyrazine levels that contribute to bell pepper, green or vegetal aromas and flavors. Constellation Wines senior viticulturist Daniel Bosch gave an overview of trellis systems and discussed the relationship between canopy management and the effects of fruit exposure on wine flavor. Many factors influence trellis choice, and Bosch Trial block at UC Davis for comparison of Cabernet Sauvignon on seven different trellis systems.. said choosing a trellis is often an art more than a science, but should include a focus on managing vine growth. He advised, Choose the correct trellis to create properly sized shoots, canopy, fruit exposure and yield. Growth and vigor can be modified seasonally to some degree, with the ability to slow-down or increase vigor based on inputs, pruning and canopy management. A 3- to 4-week period of growth early in the season allows an opportunity to adjust vine shoot length. Trellis and canopy size affect overall vine temperatures. Greater ground shading reduces temperature. Lower fruiting wires and clusters receive more ground radiation and warmer temperatures than higher fruiting wires. Chardonnay needs less leaf area per pound of fruit than other varieties. Pinot Noir needs the most amount of leaf area per pound of fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon is usually best managed with intermediate growth. Trellis choice and management of Sauvignon Blanc can be according to the desired flavor style, ranging from grassy to tropical fruit depending on leaf area and fruit exposure. Lodi Evaluates HCMP Trellises San Joaquin County Cooperative Extension advisor Paul Verdegaal discussed trials in the Lodi area comparing high-cordon machine-pruned (HCMP) trellises with more common trellis systems. HCMP vines are managed by mechanically box-hedging, or box-pruning, on all sides to maintain an 8-inch hedge prior to start of the growing season. An observation trial planted at Gallo Liberty Vineyard in 2009 is comparing several varieties on HCMP trellises with a cordon height of 60-inches
2 "Choosing a trellis is often an art more than a science,"said Daniel Bosch. 2 above the ground, with the same varieties on a more standard bilateral cordon with T-trellis, with the cordon 42-inches above the ground. Based on five years of observation, HCMP success seems to be variety dependent. Suitable varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Colombard. Less suitable are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Zinfandel. Fruit quality was similar for both trellises, but yields tended to be higher with HCMP. A replicated trial planted at Kautz Farms in 2011 with Cabernet Sauvignon clone 337 on rootstock is comparing four trellis types: standard bilateral cordon with T-trellis, horizontally-divided cordon (HDC) quadrilateral system, cane-pruned, and HCMP. For the first harvest in 2013, the canepruned trellis had the highest yield, but in 2014, the others caught-up, with HDC and HCMP showing the highest yields. Berry juice analysis data has been similar across the board, but the HCMP had the highest Brix (26.7) in Based on initial results for HCMP, Verdegaal summarized, Vine canopy is fully utilized with a good balance of fruit production vs. vegetative growth, and it provides maximum yield with less labor and more cost savings. Gallo Seeks Vine Balance, Quality and Yield Chris Munsell, E & J Gallo Winery director of winemaking and Jim O'Donnell, research viticulturist, discussed Gallo s goal of vine balance and management of fruit microclimate and leaf area exposure to impact flavor. Company-wide, we have 14 different trellis systems we re employing commercially for fruit production, and we probably have an equal number we are using experimentally, Munsell said. The winery looks at grape and wine chemistry from different trellises for wine quality and flavor impacts, but also has certain yield expectations from particular trellises and sites. Munsell explained: When managing and evaluating wine quality, we look way beyond Brix, at levels of positive aroma precursors, and we look at malic acid levels which are usually a negative quality indicator. If we can reduce malic acid in the vineyard it s usually better. Gallo extensively uses mechanized trellis systems, based on varietal and site factors, and they tend to produce a lot of smaller fruit clusters that are more spread out for more even exposure. Very often, we prefer wines made from mechanically managed vineyards, and they often have higher yields, Munsell said. O Donnell discussed comparison trials with Cabernet Sauvignon in Sonoma County on three trellis systems: single-curtain spur-pruned VSP, double-curtain canepruned VSP, and divided-canopy mini-lyre. Data was collected over a four-year period on fruit and wine chemistry and yield, and wines were evaluated by a tasting panel for sensory character and quality. Summarizing results, O Donnell said, The mini-lyre fruit and wine was judged to produce the most jammy, dark fruit character of the three systems, and it had less green notes and less sour notes. The latter was related to the mini-lyre allowing more light into the fruit zone, almost double the amount of light as the other two systems. The cane-pruned VSP and mini-lyre had nearly twice the yield and better vine balance compared to the spurpruned VSP. Cabernet Sauvignon Compared from Seven Trellis Systems The UCD teaching vineyard includes a small block to compare seven trellis systems, each in two rows of 10 vines/row, with Cabernet Sauvignon planted in The trellis systems are: quadrilateral lyre, quadrilateral wye, Geneva double curtain (GDC), Cascade, Scott Henry, VSP, and mechanically boxpruned. Each trial vine is managed the same in terms of irrigation, nutrient and chemical inputs, and all vines are harvested at the same time for comparison. Wines are produced from each trellis lot using the same processes and parameters. Wines were first made from a small crop in 2013, but did not show much sensory difference between trellis types. Wines from the 2014 vintage were tasted for comparison by seminar attendees. Although the wines were relatively young and did not display major differences, enology professor Dr. Linda Bisson said they were beginning to show some differences. The wine from the GDC was the most preferred by seminar attendees, and some felt it had better balance, mouthfeel and varietal character. However, the wine from the mechanically box-pruned vines was also viewed positively, and considered very drinkable. Bisson said: This shows you can get differences with wines from different trellis systems. However, these wines are similar enough in quality, that you might make a decision to use mechanized management for the benefits of the lower cost of management and the higher production yields. Wines from this trial are expected to show more differences between trellis types in future vintages.
3 April 2015 P r e s i d e n t ' s M e s s a g e Recently, three law firms filed a class action suit against several California wineries claiming the wineries produced and marketed wines containing unsafe levels of arsenic. The suit claims just a glass or two of these arsenic-contaminated wines a day over time could result in dangerous arsenic toxicity to the consumer. The suit further claims the named wineries knowingly and recklessly engaged in a consistent pattern and practice of selling arsenic-contaminated wine to California consumers. This is an excellent example of a lawsuit without injury pedaling outrageous claims. California s broken legal system incentivizes unscrupulous lawyers to manufacture claims of harm and injury and to assign blame to those with the deepest financial pockets. One of the firms behind the suit is based in southern California. The California personal injury firm specializes in the manufacture of hyperbole and outrage. The firm has enriched itself by ensuring that those accused of wreaking harm and injury on society also have the deepest financial pockets. In other words, they love to prey on private business. The firm s website reveals a list of settlements or court ordered judgments amounting to over $710 million, as well as a long list of current pending lawsuits. In one example, the firm is pursuing a wrongful death case associated with a tragic auto accident in Nevada. On a July night in 2011, a man s 1989 model year Ford came to a stop in the eastbound lane of highway I-80. Witnesses described the disabled car has having no headlights or taillights on before the car was struck from behind by a semi-tractor trailer. Plaintiff s lawyers want to hold responsible the deep pocketed trucking company and their driver for the nighttime collision. In September of 2011, an 18 year old man was riding his skateboard downhill on the city streets of Mammoth Lakes, California. The man s skateboard hit a bump in the road, sending the man flying onto the street resulting in fatal injuries. About the accident, the city police chief said, Although this young man was not legally required to wear a helmet, this tragic incident demonstrates why everyone who rides a bicycle or skateboard should always wear protective equipment, especially a helmet. However, lawyers for the dead man s family believe those responsible for the imperfect road surface should be held liable for this young man s death, prompting a wrongful death suit on the family s behalf. In another case, the firm filed a class action lawsuit against Sacramento-based Farmers Rice Cooperative Inc., which has been in business since The suit alleges the cooperative sold filthy, putrid, decomposed or substandard rice to a southern California sushi restaurant. The firm claims most Californians who have eaten sushi at California restaurants in recent years likely were exposed to this rice. The rice cooperative s spokesman responded, These claims are absurd. We have been in business since 1944 and sell rice to the most quality-conscious customers in the world. Our rice is as safe as it gets. California is fertile ground for our nation s most aggressive personal injury lawyers. The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) notes that California has been home to a growing wave of often ridiculous consumer class actions that target the labeling and marketing of various food and beverage products. According to the ATRF, Defendants are targeted not because they may be culpable, but because they have deep pockets and will likely settle rather than risk greater injustice in the jurisdiction s courts. ATRF categorizes California as a Judicial HellHole and the state ranked first among all Judicial Hellholes the past two years, but this year fell to second place behind New York City s asbestos court, which took the number one ranking. Anyone interested in the issue of tort reform should read the ATRF s annual report Judicial Hellholes The report is easily accessible on the Internet. Since 2002, the ATRF s Judicial Hellholes program has identified and documented places where judges in civil cases systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner. America's $246 billion civil justice system is the most expensive in the industrialized world and the most recent class action suit against California wineries is evidence of the pressing need for reform. John Aguirre, President
4 CAWG's State Government Affairs Committee deliberates on more than 60 bills.. 4 S t a t e CAWG Government Affairs Committee Reviews 2015 Legislation 2,300. That s the number of Assembly and Senate bills introduced in this year s legislative session. Of this total number, CAWG s State Government Affairs Committee identified more than 60 bills of interest affecting California winegrape growers. The committee, under the leadership of Chair Brad Goehring, held its first meeting of the year to review and, when practicable, take positions on the measures. However, it s still early in the legislative session and many bills remain in spot form (including water bills), meaning there is little substantive language in them for the committee to weigh-in and determine a CAWG bill position. For now, and until bill language evolves, most of the reviewed measures received a Watch position. Here s a look at the variety of emerging measures CAWG will be watching and working this year. Wages and Employment Back for another run at passage is a bill to raise the state s minimum wage. SB 3, by Sen. Mark Leno (D- San Francisco), would increase the minimum wage on Jan. 1, 2016 to $11 per hour and one year later to $13 per hour. Starting Jan. 1, 2019, the minimum wage would adjust annually based on the rate of inflation in the previous year. CAWG position: Not Favor. Legislation intending to prohibit employment discrimination could make it more difficult for employers to gain important information about a job applicant. AB 676, by Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), would prohibit an employer from asking a job applicant to disclose information about their current employment status. Employers who violate this provision would be subject to civil penalties that escalate with the number of violations. CAWG position: Not favor. Prop. 65 Bringing some relief to frivolous lawsuits and "overwarning" the public about chemical exposure under Prop. 65 rules is legislation by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward). AB 543 states that a business does not knowingly and intentionally expose individuals to Proposition 65-listed chemicals and, as a result, need not provide a warning if there exists an exposure assessment that meets these three specified requirements: (1) is documented in writing and prepared by or under the supervision of a qualified scientist; (2) is conducted in accordance with existing regulations; and (3) concludes that the business is not exposing an individual to a Proposition 65-listed chemical at a level requiring a warning. CAWG position: Favor. Water Helping to reduce the impact of the drought is legislation by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) titled Water Rights: small irrigation use. AB 1244 would allow farmers to construct small on farm ponds to accommodate water storage and targeted irrigation. CAWG position: Support. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Drones are here and so are concerns on privacy. SB 142 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), would define knowing entry (trespassing) on the land of another to also include the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle below the navigable airspace overlaying the property. CAWG position: Favor. (Note: While 500 feet is a useful rule of thumb for defining navigable versus non-navigable airspace, regulations governing navigable airspace are actually more complex.) Other bills of interest include a measure to require the Department of Justice to establish a Metal Theft Task Force Program to lead in the investigation and prosecution of illegal recycling operations and metal thefts. CAWG position: Favor. And, in the mix of immigration-related legislation is this CAWG-supported bill by Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford). SJR 2 would urge Congress and the President of the United States to work together to create a comprehensive and workable approach to reform the nation s immigration system according to specified principles.
5 April 2015 I n d u s t r y Preparing Your Business for a Transition or Sale With family businesses common in the grape and wine industries, some useful tips on preparing a business for a generational transition, or sale, were provided during a session at the 2015 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Moderator Rick Boland, founder of the TBC Group, Inc. in Napa, advised the following based on his experience with succession planning services for family-owned businesses. Start the planning process early, and keep the plan flexible. Also: Prepare financially and emotionally for exiting the business. Understand the human dynamics of the players and personalities involved. Develop a transition timetable. Be objective in evaluating successors (whether family or outsiders) Identify and engage professional advisors early. Take control of the process, otherwise it will take-on a life of its own. Key planning areas include: 1) Financial tax and estate planning, company valuation, and whether to maintain an ongoing stake in the business, 2) Personal/family goals and values as the transition process moves forward, 3) Timing of Transition personal time horizons, industry-specific cycles, and general economic conditions, and 4) Establishing or Updating Governance Structure board of directors, family council, management committee, or board of advisors. Boland also suggests, Have a series of backup plans if the preferred transition doesn t work, and consider the risks of unexpected events, such as accidents/damage to property, or the death of key persons. Life insurance for key people helps with contingency planning. Mario Zepponi of Zepponi & Company, in Santa Rosa, specializes in vineyard and winery sales, acquisitions and mergers. His presentation focused on selling the business if the family decides not to remain involved. When planning for a sale, Zepponi summarized, Understand the value of your business before you go on the market. Finances and paperwork should be in order. The integrity of financial information is critical to buyers, he said. In some cases, such as with a wine brand, it is advisable to build the brand identity and value as part of a 2- to 5-year sales plan to increase the business s image and value for buyers, and to reduce perceived risks. John Ledbetter is a third generation farmer with Vino Farms that owns and manages vineyards in Lodi and the North Coast. John, and his brother Jim, have operated the business for many years. Two sisters were ownership partners but not active in the business. While in his early 50s, Ledbetter observed, We had three generations of family that numbered over 30 people, and realized we had to start planning or the business wouldn t make it to the next generation. He said, Philosophically, everyone has to be on the same page and believe it s time to start the planning process. Family members had to commit to the process and be available for weekend meetings. He advises a code of conduct for discussion, with everyone respectful, open-minded, and with everyone s ideas heard and considered. Written mission statements can help. When hiring a professional advisor, he suggests someone who knows the family well and is trusted, not just from business interactions, but also from social events such as family dinners and weddings. Ledbetter said: Before we started this, we didn t know our children s interests and goals. It was beneficial not only to my generation, but the next generation as well. He suggests giving younger family members a time limit on deciding to join the business, such as a certain number of years after graduating from college. Boland suggests separate contractual terms and obligations for operational vs. non-operational business partners. The best clients I ve had want to maintain family harmony above all, Boland said. "Maintain family harmony above all," said Rick Boland.
6 The closer we get to Nov. 2016, the less likely members are willing to take difficult votes on anything. 6 F e d e r a l The Politics of Immigration Reform From legislation to litigation, Cornerstone Government Affairs, CAWG s federal lobbying team in Washington, D.C., has been following the rough and tumble road of immigration reform. The firm provides this update on notable actions on immigration that have taken place since the swearing in of the 114th Congress. Earlier this year, Congress attempted to use the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to overturn President Obama s executive actions, taken last November, to protect up to five million undocumented persons from deportation. Had the congressional effort been successful, it may have provided the reset of this issue allowing Congress to move some type of legislation either issue-specific bills or a comprehensive bill during However, there were insufficient votes in the Senate to overcome a Democratic filibuster of the bill passed by the House of Representatives. In the end, funding for DHS through September 2015 was passed without provisions affecting the executive order on immigration. But then in February, a U.S. District Court judge issued a ruling stopping the President s executive actions from taking effect. The Justice Department has appealed and it is likely that this matter will make its way to the Supreme Court. The House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation granting states and localities the authority to enforce federal immigration laws and defunding President Obama s executive actions on immigration. Additionally, on March 3, the House Judiciary Committee approved, by a vote of 20-13, the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147). This bill would mandate the use of the E-Verify system by employers to confirm the legal status of prospective employees. Advocates for agricultural organizations have been told there is no opportunity to move any legislation that addresses agriculture s workforce situation until after border security and enforcement legislation passes. Agricultural employers have concurred with the need to strengthen worker documentation. However, taking these steps before addressing the current workforce and creating a new guest worker program to address future needs will leave employers in an untenable position. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that food production would fall by $30 billion to $60 billion in the United States if the government implements a strict enforcement-only employment verification system without the other pieces of this complex puzzle. Going forward, the immigration reform path remains very unclear. The House Judiciary Committee s approach of passing individual bills addressing specific issues is a strategy that has been utilized in other committees to address complex, controversial topics such as environmental regulatory reforms. Piecemeal reform also serves the political strategy of garnering votes that would otherwise be lost on a widespread, comprehensive reform package. But, there are several issues which make this approach unlikely to succeed in the Senate. The 2016 elections are already influencing what issues the Senate takes up and when. The closer we get to November 2016, the less likely members are willing to take difficult votes on anything. Add to the mix that there are several Republican presidential contenders in the Senate whom have taken different stances on immigration reform and one has a recipe for immigration inaction. When the Senate passed its comprehensive immigration bill in June 2013, the final vote was The makeup of the Senate was 52 Democrats, 46 Republicans and 2 Independents (who caucus with the Democrats). Since then, nine Democrats who supported the bill have retired or were defeated in the 2014 election and have been replaced by Republicans; only two Republicans who opposed the bill have left the Senate and each was replaced by another Republican. In 2016, Republicans will be defending 24 of the 34 seats up for re-election. This is similar to the 2014 election when Democrats were defending 21 seats against the Republicans 15 seats. Although control of the House is not as likely to shift, party leaders on both sides will be watching to not only preserve their majority and/or benefit their presidential candidate. Each party will use the upcoming months to gauge public opinion and determine what if any action on immigration is likely to benefit them at the polls.
7 April 2015 W o r k i n g F o r Y o u From educational programs to political action events to recognizing excellence among our winegrape colleagues, CAWG offers members a number of opportunities to get involved. Check out these Working for You events. Grower Education Programs CAWG and local regional associations are hosting two April Grower Education Programs in Lodi and Parlier. On Thurs., April 23, CAWG and the Lodi District Grape Growers Association (LDGGA) will host a program covering a range of important topics. Attendees will receive updates on PD/GWSS and the referendum, 2015 legislation, conservation compliance, the revised heat illness prevention regulation, and current drought issues. This April 23 Grower Education Program will be held at the Lodi Grape Festival in the Burgundy Hall. Registration begins at 8:30 AM. The program runs from 9:00 AM - Noon, with the legislative update and networking lunch to wrap up the day. This event is free to CAWG/LDGGA members. To register for this event, go to the CAWG website and click on Calendar & Events. From the drop-down menu click on Lodi Grower Education Program. For questions, please Jenny Devine-Smith in the CAWG office or visit the CAWG website for further details. Save the Date Details to Follow The second Grower Education Program is scheduled on Wednesday, April 29, in Parlier. CAWG and the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association (SJVWA) will host a program of presentations covering PD/GWSS and the referendum, a discussion on water storage and the water bond, currency evaluations, followed by a CAWG and SJVWA update. This April 29 Grower Education Program will be held from 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM at O'Neill Vintners & Distillers, in Parlier. The event will conclude with food and wine. Details to follow. Thank you Grower Education Program sponsors: Pan American Insurance Agency and QBE NAU Country Insurance Company. Is CAWG s Summer Conference on Your Calendar? This annual event of golf, education and awards will be held at the Silverado Resort and Spa July in Napa. CAWG s Summer Conference gets underway with the 4th Annual CAWG PAC Golf Tournament on July 22. The South Course, at the Silverado Resort and Spa, is located in the heart of the Wine Country. Registration and practice range warm-up start at 8:30 AM with a shotgun start at 9:30 AM. Box lunches will be available. An awards ceremony and reception will follow tournament play. The July 22 evening then transitions into CAWG s 4th Annual Awards of Excellence Program at the resort. The awards program recognizes the exceptional people in our industry whose industry leadership and commitment has benefitted the California winegrape community. This event includes a reception, dinner and recognition of the Leader of the Year and Grower of the Year. On day two of the Summer Conference, attendees will participate in CAWG s Speaker Program and 41st Annual Meeting. The speaker program will provide presentations from wine industry luminaries that will educate and inform on key 2015 issues affecting our business operations. CAWG s Annual Business Meeting will take place after the speaker program. Summer Conference concludes on Fri., July 24 with the CAWG Board of Directors Meeting. For details and to register for Summer Conference events, go to the CAWG website at Under Events and Education on the homepage, click on CAWG Summer Conference. Hotel reservation information can also be found here. CAWG has negotiated a room rate of $199 at the Silverado Resort and Spa. The DEADLINE to reserve a room at the rate is Tuesday, June 30. If you have questions, call the CAWG office at Be a part of CAWG's Summer Conference at the Silverado Resort & Spa, July in napa.
8 April 2015 c a l e n d a r This edition of The Crush is sponsored by: Country Insurance Company APRIL WGA & Wine America 2015 National Grape & Wine Policy Conference Washington, DC 23 Grower Education Program Lodi Grape Festival, Lodi, CA 29 Grower Education Program O'Neill Vintners & Distillers, Parlier, CA MAY CAWG Board of Directors Washington, D.C. JUNE 4 CAWG PAC Event LangeTwins Winery, Lodi, CA JULY 22 CAWG PAC Golf Tournament Napa, CA 23 4th Annual CAWG Speaker Program & Conference Napa, CA 24 CAWG Board of Directors Napa, CA NOVEMBER CAWG Board of Directors Sacramento, CA. California Association of Winegrape Growers thecrush first class u.s. postage paid permit no sacramento, ca