Key programs of note to the wine industry that received funding include the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, which will get $80 million per year through fiscal year 2018. This represents an increase in investment of 55% over the 2008 Farm Bill in critical specialty crop initiatives and programs, including those for wine grapes, according to WineAmerica
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters in a teleconference from Washington, D.C., that this will be the first in a number of announcements to be made regarding drought relief, including one expected Thursday aimed at forestry assistance.
The U.S. Senate and House passed a new Farm Bill, H.R. 2642, the Agricultural Act of 2014 today. The bill, which sets farm policy and spending levels for the next five years, contains a number of programs of importance to the California wine industry. Wine Institute was active in working with legislators, the California Congressional delegation and the Specialty Crop Alliance to ensure its passage. The House passed the bill with a vote of 251-166, with the support of 162 Republicans and 89 Democrats. The Senate approved passage by a vote of 68-32. The bill has been sent to the President's desk for signature
"This legislation represents the most significant government investment ever into the competitiveness of specialty crop producers and wine industry members. We salute Congress for this action and anticipate the President's signature on the bill in the coming days"
Under the bill, beer makers would pay 23 cents per gallon on draft beers and beer other than draft beers that are brewed or produced by a small brewery or brew pub. Right now, they pay 93 cents. Winemakers would pay a tax rate of 59 cents per wine gallon on still wine and sparkling wine made by a small winery. Right now, they pay $1.38 per gallon on still wine and $2.12 on sparkling wine.
"The Petaluma Gap is coming into a new maturity," said Ana Keller of Keller Estate, among the few wineries based in the region. "The biggest difference (from other parts of the Sonoma Coast) is that we're a bunch of growers mostly, but we are also clearly different in terms of weather and soils."
A new technology from the University of California, Davis, provides viticulturists with a tool to quantify the amount of water that evaporates from a broad area of a vineyard. Surface-renewal technology has recently been improved to perform well in vineyards
Congress gave final approval Tuesday to a sweeping overhaul of a broad range of federal farm and nutrition policies affecting what farmers grow, how food is packaged and sold and how the government helps poor people pay for their groceries
In a survey of wine tour operators located throughout the world, responses indicated they expect a 21.4% increase in customers served in 2014. 70 tour operators from 12 separate countries took part in the survey conducted December 30 - January 3 by Zephyr Adventures, organizers of the annual Wine Tourism Conference and Wine Tourism Day
"Bonné's response to that criticism is unprintable here. He is content to be at the tip of a movement, like an art critic challenging his readers to question their perspectives and prejudices when viewing a painting"
"Key factors cited as contributing to the U.S. market growth included industry product innovations; consumer fascination with premiumization, heritage and cocktail culture; expanded access through state market modernizations; and effective hospitality tax restraint by legislatures"
Senate Bill 1559, introduced in reaction to a drive by big grocery chains to fully privatize liquor sales with a November ballot measure, would allow grocery stores of 10,000 square feet or more to sell liquor from their shelves, while keeping the state in control of the supply.
The day before California experienced a couple of teasing rain showers, the thing on everyone's minds at this year's Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento was the continuing drought and the potential impact it may have on California farmers and ranchers