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.
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.”
The Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program was created by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) and the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) to prepare Napa County high school students for careers in our world class wine industry. During the 8-week program, students gain first-class industry experience and develop professional skills in hospitality, wine production, grape growing, human resources, and accounting, with some of the world’s most forward-thinking wine producers.
Through the FWF and NVG’s ongoing partnership with the Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD), the program is promoted to high school students from a range of backgrounds. To apply, students must be 16 years or older, able to commit to an 8-week program, have interest in learning about a career in the wine industry, and a positive attitude and willingness to learn new skills. All applicants are put through an interview process, with priority extending to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. When selected, students are placed with an employer mentor, and receive a soft skill workshop schedule covering topics, such as: financial literacy; mental health; resume writing; professional networking on social media; history of the Napa Valley; leadership stories and lessons; and goal setting.
Montserrat Granados, a student from the 2021 graduating class, said about her Fields of Opportunity experience, "I liked working outside, especially in the mornings. We did things like collect sugar samples or scouted for pests. Before this summer, I wasn't thinking about a job in this field, but now after working at Hall Wines under viticulturist Sarah Lansing, I am considering working in the wine industry.” For Montserrat, the program left a lasting impression.
The large number of qualified applicants is a positive challenge; creating opportunity for more employer mentors to get involved. In 2021, for example, FWF and NVG initially planned to place 16 students with employer mentors. When 80 student applications were received, additional outreach was made to employers; in the end, 23 students were placed, all of whom completed the program.
In 2022, the organizations hope to double student placements with support from new employer mentors who want to impact a young life by introducing them to the wine industry and sharing their passion for the field.
Past employers included many of Napa’s most recognized wineries and vineyard management companies such as: Foley Family Wines; Hall Wines; Hudson Ranch, Jericho Canyon Vineyards; Larkmead Vineyards; Napa Wine Company; Opus One; Pine Ridge Vineyards; Renteria Vineyard Management; Tres Sabores; V. Sattui Winery; Viader Vineyards & Winery; Walsh Vineyards Management; and Yount Mill Vineyards.
“Over the past 4 years, Napa Wine Company and Yount Mill Vineyards have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the Fields of Opportunity program through mentorship. We feel it is crucial to support the next generation because they represent the future of our local community,” said Kendall Hoxsey-Onysko, business manager for Napa Wine Company and Yount Mill Vineyards. “It goes both ways, though, through mentorship we learn how to continually hone our management skills, which reinvigorates our love for the business itself.”
“We highly recommend every business in Napa Valley participate as mentors for the Fields of Opportunity program.”
The Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program has begun outreach to employer mentors for the 2022 program, which will be held June 20 - August 5. If you are interested in joining as an employer mentor, learn more here or email Jill Durfee, Farmworker Foundation Program Manager, at email@example.com.
For press inquiries related to the Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program, please email Caroline Keller, NVG Marketing Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of California Cooperative Extension (Napa) and Tule are building an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model to diagnose grapevine virus symptoms. Their goal is to build an app called "Virus Vision" that diagnoses Grapevine Leafroll Disease, Red Blotch Disease, and other causes of red leaves from phone camera pictures.
NVG members can support their app by submitting pictures and virus test results; members who contribute to the data set will receive free and early access to the mobile app.
Each year, growers follow standards mandated by Napa County's Conservation Regulations and Erosion Control Plans (ECP) that prevent erosion and promote water security, protecting public health and preserving natural resources. The following is a reminder of the annual requirements for Napa County grape growers:
The County conducts annual randomized inspections to ensure winterization practices are enforced. Individual Erosion Control Plans may be subject to other deadlines and extensions based on individual ECPs.
Since the 2017 fires, Napa County has allowed property owners to delay the application of straw mulch beyond the winterization deadline by submitting a formal winterization extension request for review and approval.
On Friday, October 1, 2021 a total of five glassy-winged sharpshooters (GWSS) were confirmed on two different traps in a residential part of Vacaville, in Solano County. A delimitation survey that began on Saturday, October 2 confirmed some presence of GWSS at several more sites near the initial trap found through a visual survey. All of the finds so far have been in urban, residential settings in Solano County.
The Solano County Agricultural Commissioner’s office & the Pierce’s Disease Control Program are working together on next steps. The Napa County Ag Commissioner’s office will share a press release and any relevant guidance as soon as available. Current protections in place in Napa County include:
NVG will continue to work with the Napa County Ag Commissioner’s office to keep growers informed as we learn more.
For more general information on GWSS, visit NVG’s Pest page and Napa County’s website.