By Kristen Bieler
In the fall of 2020, the grapes in Alison Sokol Blosser's vineyards were ripe—and she had no one to pick them.
Pandemic-related travel restrictions meant that none of her international harvest interns had arrived, and the local labor pool in Oregon's Yamhill County, where the winery is located, was essentially nonexistent. "We had to get the grapes off, so I pulled my kids out of school and my nephews and my parents—who hadn't picked grapes in 30 years—all worked in the vineyard."
Grappling with a similar labor shortage in 2021, Sokol Blosser, like so many desperate vintners across the U.S., turned to farm labor contractors for hiring needs, which drove up seasonal costs exponentially. "We need solutions; the labor crisis is not going away," she told Wine Spectator.
There is so much going on in our personal and professional lives right now. We want to make it easy for you to get a quick digest of what the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) are doing for you this winter.
How NVG is Working for Members This Winter:
How FWF is Working to Support Farmworkers This Winter:
Take these steps to keep up with the latest requirements and recommendations to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace.
Review the latest Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), effective January 14, including new testing, exclusion, and face covering requirements. For Spanish resources and information on updates and revisions, visit the Cal/OSHA website.
Register for NVG's upcoming webinar: COVID-19 Updates for Employers with Erica Rosasco, Partner at McKague Rosasco LLP. Topics include Cal/OSHA's ETS, what to do when an employee tests positive, sick leave, return to work, testing, and vaccine policies, and more.
Order free rapid tests through USPS! Every household in the U.S. is now eligible to order 4 free at-home rapid tests. For more information and FAQs visit the covidtests.gov.
Work with supervisors and foremen to ensure general COVID-19 safety protocols:
Encourage booster shots for all employees! Our partners at St. Helena Hospital Foundation continue to provide vaccine clinics. No appointments are necessary.