By Sam Jones
Grape growers in Napa County are constantly looking for innovative ways to decrease waste while increasing productivity in their vineyards, but not all of these methods are high-tech or brand-new. For many, the act of accumulating, turning and spreading compost is a basic but key part of their vineyard management strategy, and has been practiced since ancient civilizations first prioritized agriculture.
“Composting has always been considered key to better farming and is a key practice employed in Napa Valley vineyards,” said Michael Silacci, winemaker for Opus One and president of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. “When composting is done properly using good management techniques and temperature monitoring, the result is a fine source of nutrients for plants and it has a positive impact on preventing soil erosion by rebuilding soil structure and supporting plant growth.”
By increasing microbial activity in these waste materials – think oak leaves, grape stems, manure – pulled from their property, vintners are able to not only benefit soil health, but also keep as much of its waste on-site as possible.
Cal/OSHA has Readopted COVID-19 Emergency Standards Through mid-April 2022
The Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to readopt the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) through mid-April 2022. The Standards Board readopted the ETS with changes, including requirements to test, mask, and socially distance non-symptomatic vaccinated workers who had a COVID-19 close contact. To learn more about the ETS, visit their FAQs.
Get Your Booster this Holiday Season
Now is an important time to get your teams boosted for the holidays and winter travel. NVG and the Farmworker Foundation have worked with our partners at St. Helena Hospital Foundation (SHHF) to ensure ag workers can easily access COVID-19 booster shots. SHHF is holding regular clinics at Napa Valley College Upvalley Campus, as well as other locations throughout the County. No appointments are necessary for the clinics and whole teams can receive their shots at the same time.
For the upcoming clinic schedule, visit the SHHF website
For more information about the clinics, employers may contact Noemi Mauricio at (707) 815-2544 or MauricNA@ah.org or for general questions, Molly Moran Williams at (707) 944-8311 x 118 or MWilliams@napagrowers.org.
Individuals may also make booster appointments at local pharmacy locations such as Safeway, CVS Pharmacy and Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy.
To view more COVID-19 resources for NVG members in English and Spanish, visit NVG’s website.
Informational Webinar and How to Apply
Friday, December 17 | 10am
Applications will open soon for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), providing $10 billion in critical relief to growers and farmers who have suffered financial losses as a result of wildfires, smoke exposure, drought, excessive heat, and other natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.
In anticipation of this, the USDA Napa/Solano County Farm Service Agency (FSA) in conjunction with Sonoma/Marin FSA, is conducting a short webinar on this and other programs that offer disaster benefits to growers, farmers, and ranchers.
To register, contact Brooke Raffaele at Brooke.Raffaele@USDA.gov
The webinar will emphasize how to register farm records and what is required, including eligibility paperwork, in anticipation of program opportunities.
By Sam Jones
When the winter rains come to Napa Valley, soil erosion is at the top of many viticulturists’ minds. Terracing and other structural changes to the terroir are largely a mitigation method of the past, with many vineyards planting the grassy patches between their rows with mustards, legumes, and grasses as cover crops.
And while the blooming yellows of mustard certainly brighten up Napa’s landscape each year, these widespread plants have important ecological benefits as well.
“It’s all about watershed protection,” said Molly Moran Williams, Industry and Community Relations Director for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. “Cover crops on hillsides prevent erosion, which, in return, protects our river and watershed.”
“On top of that, in vineyards all over the valley, cover crops add nutrients back into the soil, increase microbiome diversity, and are used widely as a climate-smart farming practice.”