Last Friday, June 3rd was the Sonoma County Wine Grape Commissions annual Grower Seminar, Tradeshow and Barbecue.
It is a good idea to show up just for the great BBQ but as always the presentations are also first rate. This year three featured topics were frost protection, the European grapevine moth and labor law enforcement.
First was an update by Pete Opatz on the Frost Regulation battle that is waging between growers, the County of Sonoma and the State Regulators. Everyone should keep a sharp eye as this debate unfolds. Everyone also needs to get registered with the Sonoma County Grape Commission to present a united front to counter some potentially severe regulations.
Second was the another update, this time by Deputy Ag Commissioner Lisa Correia and the progress made against the European Grapevine Moth. She also outline proposed steps for this year and beyond.
Finally was a huge wakeup call, on the legal, enforcement and regulatory trends that will be impacting the entire wine industry this year. Mike Saqui of the Saqui Law Group (www.laborcounselors.com) in no uncertain terms made sure everyone understood that State and Federal agents are already descending in growing numbers and growers need to be alert.
Vineyard managers should also be aware of Obama’s choice for Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis who has made it her mission to enforce labor laws on the books. Earlier she said, “When it comes to work place protection, workplace health and workplace safety, let me be clear: the labor department is back in the enforcement business.” She continued, “Under my watch, enforcement of our labor laws will be intensified …”
Following his report Saqui then offered free, abbreviated compliance sheets in both English and Spanish to help vineyard management stay abreast of the laws and regulations. The first is on Heat Illness and is attached. For more information contact their website.