January 2016 Newsletter

Vineyards in snow

A Note from Commission President

As 2016 kicks off with chilly temperatures and much-needed precipitation, we are pleased to report that Lake County’s winegrape growers voted to extend the valuable work of the Commission for another five years in the recent referendum vote (see details below).

We have begun work on a 30-month-long project funded by a $302,523 grant by the California Department of Food & Agriculture. The goal of the project is to develop a multi-tiered course on Lake County winegrapes and wines and present it to key audiences in four major markets, as a means to increase demand for Lake County wines and, ultimately, increase the prices paid to Lake County winegrowers. We are excited to partner with the Lake County Winery Association as we promote our region nationally.

And be sure to stay tuned for registration details for events like Momentum 2016, which is tentatively slated for March 3.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Debra Sommerfield

Continuation Referendum Passes

CDFA logoLake County winegrape growers approved continuation of the Lake County Winegrape Commission for another five years. Results of the Grape Crush District 2 vote between November 3 and December 1, 2015 confirmed approval. Balloting was conducted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

Under California Winegrape Growers Commission Law, each commission in the state is required to hold a continuation referendum every five years. The referendum is a mandated vote of eligible growers to determine whether the Commission is authorized to continue its work for another five years.

The referendum passed with a 77.5% favorable vote of producers who cast their ballots.

Master Vigneron Academy(R) graduates with their certificates

Master Vigneron Academy graduates of 2014 and 2015.

Commission Recognizes LCWC Master Vigneron Academy Graduates

Approximately 100 people gathered November 21, 2015, at TNT Restaurant in Lakeport to celebrate the accomplishment of 18 individuals who completed LCWC’s Master Vigneron Academy program over the past two years.

LCWC Vice Chair Broc Zoller welcomed everyone to the graduation ceremony. He was joined by past LCWC Research and Education Chair Randy Krag and LCWC Education Director Paul Zellman for the presentation of certificates and Master Vigneron hats for each of the graduates.

Attendees included graduates and their families, employers, and other Master Vigneron students from prior years (2012 and 2013). A buffet lunch was provided, and Lake County wines were served.

Congratulations to the graduates:

(2014) Cecil Brown, Sun Alpine Vineyards; Aldo Cabrera, Bella Vista Farming; Cayetano Garcia, Robinson Lake Vineyards; Vicente Garcia Pantoja, JAC Ag Services, LLC; Octavio Hernandez, Trinchero Family Estates; Magdaleno Manrique, Beckstoffer Vineyards – Red Hills; Tony Medina, Cache Creek Vineyards; Jose Pantoja, Sr., JAC Ag Services, LLC; and Refugio Rojas, Oldham Vineyard.

(2015) Roman Calderon, Beckstoffer Vineyards – Red Hills; Jose Calvillo, Rogers Vineyards & Orchards; Juan Calvillo, Rogers Vineyards & Orchards; Gerardo Cortez, Trinchero Family Estates; Marie Azucena Garcia, JAC Ag Services, LLC; Ruben Perez Lepiz, Bella Vista Farming; Fernando Martinez, Six Sigma Vineyards; Osbaldo Puhida, Beckstoffer Vineyards – Red Hills; and Ismael Sonato, JAC Ag Services, LLC.

Randy Krag (left) congratulates MVA graduate Gerardo Cortez of Trinchero Family Estates.
Randy Krag (left) congratulates MVA graduate Gerardo Cortez of Trinchero Family Estates.
aul Zellman calls Tony Medina up to receive his diploma.
Paul Zellman calls Tony Medina up to receive his diploma.

Harvest Report and Assessments Due

A reminder for all Lake County growers: Harvest 2015 reports and assessments are due January 10 to the Lake County Winegrape Commission office. If you have questions about the reports and assessments, please call the LCWC office, (707) 279-2633.

California Wine Grape Growers Foundation Offers Scholarships to Growers’ Children

The California Wine Grape Growers Foundation is offering scholarships to high school seniors whose parents or legal guardians are employees of California winegrape growers. Details and the application form are available on the Foundation’s web site, www.cwggf.org.

For additional information, call the Foundation office at (916) 379-8999. Application deadline is March 25, 2016.

CAWG Webinar Offers Information on New Piece-Rate Legislation

Join the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) on Tuesday, January 12, for an hour-long webinar on the new law regarding piece-rate wages. Register for AB 1513 – Piece-Rate Webinar, scheduled for January 12, 2016, 11:00 a.m. at:


Presenting will be attorneys Elizabeth Stallard and Anna Padgett from the Employment Group at Downey Brand LLP.

AB 1513 by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) codifies several court decisions related to piece-rate compensation and the separate compensation of employees for non-productive time, rest periods, and recovery periods. The bill also creates a “safe harbor” where employers who had previously been in violation of the law can make back wage payments for rest and recovery periods and nonproductive time in exchange for relief from statutory penalties and other damages.

For more information, call the CAWG office at (916) 379-8995 or visit the organization’s website at www.cawg.org.


    LCWC Executive Committee Meeting 2:30 pm
    LCWC Executive Committee Meeting @ LCWC Office
    May 21 @ 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
    Agenda – LCWC Executive Committee Meeting, May 21, 2024
    LCWC Board Meeting 3:00 pm
    LCWC Board Meeting @ LCWC Office
    May 21 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
    Agenda – LCWC Board Meeting, May 21, 2024
        Skip to content