Wildfire Task Force Update
We continue to support the grape-growing community in fire-readiness and resiliency. This update includes important, upcoming deadlines and events. For access to all of NVG's fire resources, visit our website.
Fire Preparedness Town Hall
Tuesday, May 30 | 6pm - 7pm | Facebook Live
Napa County, CAL FIRE, and Napa Firewise will host a virtual Fire Preparedness Town Hall with Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza of District 4.
For inquiries about the Town Hall, email Ximena Espinosa, firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA Program Deadline Extensions
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadline for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two and Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) to July 14, 2023, to give producers more time to apply for assistance.
Napa County's New Defensible Space Compliance Certificate
The Defensible Space Compliance Certificate is offered to all property owners that are consistent with Napa County Defensible Space Ordinance and Guidelines, which includes commercial and residential properties. The County-issued certificate may assist with the property owner's insurance company.
Anyone interested in learning more can email Erick Hernandez, Code Compliance Officer of Napa County, at email@example.com or call (707) 399-1464.
Read the Entire 2022 Napa County Crop Report
Wildfire Task Force Update
Advocating for a Resilient Napa Valley
At the Napa Valley Grapegrowers we center our advocacy, research, and education on supporting the community, including the crucial preparation for, and resiliency in the face of, wildfire risks. We are grateful to all the industry and community partners that have worked with us on the following efforts.
To urge Napa County to include funding for fire-related initiatives in its five-year budget forecast, we recently sent a letter to the Napa County Board of Supervisors making this request. The letter seeks funding for a county staff department head for fire issues, Napa Firewise’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, and a review of current and new early detection systems and technologies. Napa County’s action on these initiatives will provide oversight on CAL FIRE’s $30 million-dollar contract, help to reduce wildfire-fuel load, and identify new technologies that help to alert emergency responders as soon as a fire ignites, potentially saving the loss of lives and property.
A Commitment to Wildfire Resiliency at the Second Fire Resources Fair
Photo by Sarah Anne Risk
Our Fire Resources Fair expanded this year to include 60 vendors at the Napa Valley Expo. In partnership with the Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Firewise and CAL FIRE / Napa County Fire, the event was open to the public free of charge. Attendees were provided with a range of information for safeguarding their property, vineyards, and homes in the event of a wildfire—an ongoing threat despite our wet winter. By providing these resources, attendees who take action can potentially prevent and mitigate the risk of loss in the case of a wildfire.
If you missed the fair, you can find detailed checklists on wildfire preparedness for home and property, fire emergency protocol, and dealing with smoke exposure along with videos on risk management, crop insurance and proper record keeping in both English and Spanish.
Support for California Assembly Bill 54
In March, we submitted a letter of support to the Chair on the Assembly Committee for Agriculture on behalf of Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry's CA AB 54, which will create an advisory committee to recommend the distribution of state funds for winegrape smoke exposure research. Additionally, we provided a letter of support to four Chairs in the Senate and Assembly budget committees to request $5 million to research smoke impact on winegrapes. The losses from wildfires and smoke exposure potentially impacts all of California due to property loss, wage loss, loss of tourism, and loss of production due to smoke exposed grapes. Research to understand and mitigate the impact is critical to avoiding the catastrophic losses of the last six years.
Baseline Data Research with ETS Labs
It was a groundbreaking effort in 2021, when we formed a partnership with ETS Laboratories to conduct baseline data research on smoke exposure and wine grapes, building the world’s largest library of grape samples in the process. Now in its third year, we are happy to continue working with ETS on the findings of this research, which has the potential to influence grape-harvesting decisions in times of fire disaster and even insurance reform.
Insurance and Disaster Relief
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers continues to support Congressman Mike Thompson’s staff as they work to update the 2023 Farm Bill to improve crop insurance coverage and design a permanent disaster assistance program.
After more than two years of advocacy work, we continue to monitor the rollout of the Emergency Relief Program to ensure growers receive recovery aid. As part of this we continue to partner with Morrison & Co., to provide free technical assistance to producers, which to date has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in recovery aid awarded to Napa Valley Grapegrowers members.
Napa Organizations Celebrate Commitment to Wildfire Resiliency at Annual Fire Resources Fair
Photos by Sarah Anne Risk
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG), Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), CAL FIRE/Napa County Fire, and Napa Firewise have partnered again on a communitywide Fire Resources Fair, held on April 11. This annual fair brought together members of the wine industry, community organizations and local businesses to learn how they can help prevent and mitigate wildfires, as well as how to navigate evacuations and insurance. The Fair was held at the Napa Valley Expo’s Chardonnay Hall and was free for the entire community to attend.
The organizations brought together 60 exhibitors to share knowledge and services with Napa residents, and those of neighboring counties. Attendees benefitted from the in-person combination of wildfire mitigation, prevention, preparedness, resiliency, and recovery services all in one place.
“This event serves as a reminder that community-based, collective action is incredibly strengthening and builds cohesion among stakeholders. We look forward to partnering with Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Firewise, and CAL FIRE/Napa County Fire each year to build bridges between our community and service providers, as well as provide resources to help us all be more fire-ready,” said Molly Moran Williams, industry and community relations director for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers.
Attendees experienced everything from electric and robotic lawnmowers to holding three-day-old goats. Visitors also had the opportunity to see the latest in early wildfire detection sensors, learn about the value of ruminant animals in the context of wildfire, and see actionable steps to better position themselves for future fire seasons.
Not only did private organizations, Napa County representatives and non-profits share their work with the community, but the whole CAL FIRE team did as well. Our local firefighters, including Chief Michael Marcucci of CAL FIRE/Napa County Fire, joined the Fire Resources Fair to speak with community members on the importance of preparing themselves and their properties. To this end, Chief Marcucci shared the following: “The mission and responsibility of building a fire resilient community is all of ours. The Fire Resources Fair event continues to bring us together with stakeholders and community members and allows us to provide education about fuels reduction best practices. We are not only excited to participate in the event but also thankful for the opportunity to be a host along with Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners and Napa Firewise. We look forward to next year’s event and providing as many options as possible for our community to implement their projects!”
Shari Gardner, the Napa Firewise director of wildfire preparedness, also connected with Napa locals on fire safety, adding, “Fire Resource Fairs are such a valuable tool for sharing the latest information about wildfire preparedness. We were thrilled with the wide variety of exhibitors at this year's fair. This event provided an opportunity for people to learn about new technologies and cost saving opportunities, connect with contractors, and ask lots of questions. Community members are working hard to improve the defensible space around their homes, and this was a great source of inspiration and resources to get the job done. This fair was also an excellent opportunity for fire mitigation specialists to network and share expertise. We love to see the community come together to address wildfire risk.”
2023 Napa Valley Grower of the Year: Garrett Buckland of Premiere Viticultural Services
Photo by Suzanne Becker Bronk
Garrett Buckland has been honored with the 2023 Napa Valley Grower of the Year award. Buckland is a partner at Premiere Viticultural Services, a vineyard consulting company based in Napa.
As an active member of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, for over 10 years he has served on the board of directors in various roles, including past president, vice president, and treasurer, and is a founding member of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation. However, his community service goes well-beyond the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. He serves on the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee, volunteers for the Napa Resources Conservations District, where he surveyed Huichica Creek, Dry Creek, and Sulphur Creek, sits on the Clean Plant Material Advisory Board, is past president of the Napa Valley Vit Tech Group, is past conference chair of the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists, and worked on the Napa River Historical Ecology Project. He is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming and has successfully converted over 500 acres of vineyards from conventional to organic farming.
In 2002, Buckland and Steve Matthiasson joined forces to create Premiere Viticultural Services. As a partner of the business, Garrett works with landowners in the development of their properties. His goal is to help them advance farming practices and works with winemakers to elevate wine quality. In his “free time”, Garrett has published dozens of articles to the Napa Valley Register, plus viticultural best practices papers for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and is often cited for television, print, and radio regarding the growing season.
NVG President Mary Maher noted, “I couldn’t be more excited to recognize Garrett Buckland as our 2023 Grower of the Year. His commitment to this organization and the future of Napa Valley grape growing is second to none. We need more next generation leaders like Garrett, he’s an asset to the community, and motivates us to continually do better.”
Buckland was born and raised in the Napa Valley. He continues to dedicate his career to pursuing viticultural excellence, and is a vocal advocate for agriculture, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and the Napa Valley as a whole.
Garrett is an avid outdoorsman, with an interest in fly fishing, hunting, bird watching, and gardening. He and his wife, Nathalie, live in Napa with their two children, Juliette, and Marten.
Nominations for the Grower of the Year come from the NVG membership. The recipient is chosen by a special Selection Committee made up of Past Presidents, current Directors, and active committee members. The award criteria include: a strong commitment to sustainable practices; recognized leadership in agricultural preservation; dedicated community focus, contributions to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers; and someone who actively promotes Napa’s reputation for the highest quality vineyards.
On March 16 NVG hosted its 12th Ahead of the Curve (AOTC) seminar. AOTC is a cornerstone biannual event for NVG, where we take a 10,000 ft view of our industry; it’s meant to be provocative and promote a forward gaze. This year’s event brought viticultural excellence onto the same stage as climate resiliency, challenging our community to envision a climate positive future. Speakers addressed risks and opportunities related to climate leadership, policy, consumer perception, global standards and supply chains, and funding changes in practice. Between wildfires, prolonged drought, and now atmospheric rivers, we have all had direct experience with extreme variability in climate and weather patterns that have invariably affected farming and business strategies. To adapt, mitigate, and act there is not a single simple response but a myriad of more complex solutions. AOTC highlighted the fact that growers are creative problem solvers, and through an open exchange of knowledge and resources, Napa Valley can work to achieve resilience and longevity in the face of a changing climate.
A Fireside Chat from Land to Sea
Dr. Ayana Johnson, co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab and the All We Can Save Project, sits down with Professor Andrew Isaacs of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Hear from two great minds in the climate science field about the role that coastal waterways and vegetation play in absorbing carbon and how their protection will ultimately keep us safe from storm surges. In Napa, we are connected to these coastal systems via our river, streams, and riparian areas. Dr. Johnson emphasizes the connectivity between oceans and our farming practices that may not always be front-of-mind.
Included in this discussion is the importance of climate justice when addressing the disproportionate impacts of climate change on communities. Dr. Johnson also highlights tenacity, collective action, and remaining joyful when confronting the challenges brought by a changing climate. What role can a farming community, and more specifically, our wine community play in meeting these challenges?
Unlocking Soil Carbon Through Federal Policy
Senior Policy Advisor with Carbon 180, Vanessa Suarez, discusses key practices to promote carbon storage in soils, an opportunity to counteract the 1.5 degree Celsius warming threshold. Suarez encourages AOTC attendees to reframe their idea of carbon emissions to focus on the long game: net negative emissions. A concept Carbon 180 explores is agroforestry. How can we incorporate more biodiversity into our vineyards to promote the soil carbon holding capacity while improving wine quality and creating another path to economic stability for smaller wineries?
Marketing Our Wines for Change
Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak demystifies consumer perspectives and presents pathways for those in the wine industry to communicate and market environmental ethos and practice. While warning against the blanket term “sustainability” which he notes is well-positioned to promote greenwashing, Goode projects that future wine consumers will increasingly care about where their wine comes from. The audience is encouraged to share their innovative practices in narrative form through their labeling, marketing, and DTC channels to connect the consumer to the vineyard, farmers, soil, and ultimately, the wine. Illuminating the path forward for the wine industry, Goode shares, “Wine is the rockstar of agriculture and is ideally placed to lead conversations about climate change and green credentials.”
ESG Standards and Their Impact on Supply Chain Regulations
Elisa Turner, Founder and CEO of IMPAKT IQ discusses the rapid acceleration of global ESG standards in the pipeline for 2024, and how financial institutions will begin looking at ESG scores like credit scores. In the past, there was no significant framework for consumers to learn about a company’s brand ethics. Now, ESG reporting is becoming mandatory for some sectors, whether the push is from government regulations, or consumer demand to purchase socially responsible and environmentally friendly goods. Wine distributors and wholesalers will require that wine companies meet certain ESG standards soon, particularly public companies like large grocers and retail. Elisa dives deep into the impacts this could have on local businesses and shares how IMPAKT IQ was designed to help navigate this new age of our industry both for large companies and smaller growers.
Alan Lewis, VP of Natural Grocers, addresses the rapid state of transition in consumer demand for natural foods and the failure of regulatory bodies to keep up with what science now knows about the microbiome. When consumer trust erodes, how should companies respond, what changes in practices are expected, and how does this translate into market demand for Napa Valley wines? Turner & Lewis discuss the intersections of their work through a Q&A with the audience.
The Regeneration of an Industry and a Region
Anthony Myint, Executive Director of Zero Foodprint, highlights incredible pathways for growers striving for innovative change, and poses this thought experiment: Can Napa Valley become the regenerative wine capital of the world? In their 5-year plan to generate funds to support growers with climate-smart farming, Zero Foodprint suggests an inventive OPT-OUT ordinance of 1% tax on food and wine that could be given directly to farmers. 1% of the Napa wine industry is more than $70 million dollars. Imagine what the Napa Valley could look like in 10, 20 and 50 years with this emphasis on regenerative agriculture: lush landscapes, healthy soil microbiomes, and a new consumer market dedicated to Napa Valley’s forward-thinking wines.
Napa Valley Grapegrowers seeks strategies for climate resilience at ‘Ahead of the Curve’ seminar
By Liz Thach MW for Decanter
Photo by Big Shot in Wine Country Media
Sheep in the vineyard, no tillage and reduced pesticides were just a few of the solutions for vineyards to mitigate climate change that were recommended at the recent ‘Ahead of the Curve’ seminar hosted by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. Given that the UN Climate Report 2023, released on 20th March, urges swift action to prevent the planet from surpassing the 1.5C degrees threshold of catastrophic warming, the seminar couldn‘t have come at a better time.
‘We‘ve been offering the “Ahead of the Curve” seminar to our growers since 2007,’ said Sonya DeLuca, interim executive director of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. ‘This is the second year in a row that we have focused on sustainability and climate efforts, because it is so critical to our future now,’ she added.
DeLuca referenced the extreme wildfires, droughts and atmospheric jet streams that have afflicted Napa Valley over the past five years. Given that Napa Valley currently has 17,000 hectares under vine and 1,500 grape growers, education on this topic is critical. Yet the majority of the solutions offered by the five experts who spoke during the day-long seminar at Charles Krug Winery can be applied to any global vineyard.
Groundwater Sustainability: Napa Valley Grapegrowers Advocacy and Conservation Resources
Over the last several years, Napa Valley Grapegrowers has represented growers in critical discussions on the sustainable management of Napa County’s groundwater resources, including via representation on the Napa County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee. On January 26, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced their approval of the Napa Valley Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).
To learn more about the GSP and complying with the new standards, visit NVG’s new dedicated Groundwater Sustainability Plan website.
NVG has also compiled tools and resources to assist growers with water mitigation efforts, including recordings from our recent Water Conservation Seminar, as well as other past programs. Find these videos and more on our website.
Sheep feasting on cover crop at Artesa Vineyards and Winery. Photo by Sarah Anne Risk
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) is pleased to be selected as a 1% for the Planet Environmental Partner. 1% for the Planet is a global movement, created by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Files, that provides organizations with support for solving the planet’s problems. The carefully vetted approval process reviewed the NVG for its advocacy, conservation, stewardship, and education efforts toward a brighter future.
To be eligible, the NVG met the following qualifications:
As part of the rigorous selection process, NVG’s educational programming on environmental topics was assessed as was its annual calendar, which addresses the concerns we all face, such as water conservation and wildfire preparedness. Additionally, NVG programs, like its Low Smoke Burning Program and Climate Science Series, taught by UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Senior Lecturer Drew Issacs, were also taken into consideration.
With this recognition, NVG gains access to a network of 1% for the Planet Business members that actively commit to giving 1% of gross sales to organizations making positive changes for the environment. Business members support 1% for the Planet Environmental Partners with monetary donations, volunteer time, in-kind donations, and other forms of promotion, and select which Environmental Partners to support.
The NVG is grateful to 1% for the Planet Business member, Paradigm Winery, for nominating it as an Environmental Partner. Through 1% for the Planet, the NVG is excited to build a broader network of environment-conscious businesses and organizations throughout Napa, the Northern California Bay Area, and beyond.
To learn more about 1% for the Planet, visit onepercentfortheplanet.org.