The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Pierce’s Disease (PD)/Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (GWSS) Board set the wine and grape industry assessment rate for the 2013 harvest at $0.75 per $1,000 of crop value at its June 21st meeting in Sacramento, a reduction from the $1.00 per $1,000 of value levied for the 2012 harvest. The $0.75 rate was previously assessed for the 2010 and 2011 harvests, and is the lowest annual rate the Board has assessed since it began collecting assessments in 2001. The Board uses assessments to fund research targeted at understanding PD and to develop new tools and plant material to prevent and reduce the incidence of PD in grapevines.
Although 2012 was a record grape crop in California, some Board members believe the 2013 crop will have at least a similar value, due to higher grape prices and more grape acreage coming online. For 2012, the Board collected about $3.5 million in assessments.
PD Board chair Drew Johnson of Treasury Wine Estates in St. Helena said, “With the value of grapes still going strong, I think we can lower the assessment rate, send a positive message to the industry, and still have the same or larger income as last year with no negative effect on our program.”
Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers based in Fresno observed, “I think the crop value this year will be at least the same as, if not more than, the 2012 crop. With new planting in recent years, I think a lot more grapes will be coming into production this year that will affect the total crop value.”