Working with Winery Partners to Mitigate Risk & Losses Due to Disaster
Communication is key when working in unpredictable conditions such as wildfires. Growers may not always be in a position to assume all of the risks, and wineries may not be able to absorb all losses. Strong grower and winery partnerships will benefit the industry during difficult times and in years to come. Below you will find step-by-step instructions for working together to mitigate risk and losses due to disaster, as well as in-the-field and winery mitigation techniques for minimizing risks related to smoke and ash exposure.
1. COMMUNICATE EARLY AND OFTEN WITH WINERY/PURCHASER
Propose possible vineyard and winery mitigation strategies
Propose a unified approach to mitigate risk and potential losses due to smoke exposure
Inform winery/purchaser that crop insurance will not cover losses without lab test results indicating smoke taint
Document testing protocols and share results
Request formal documentation from winery/purchaser if the fruit is refused
2. TALKING POINTS FOR DISCUSSION WITH WINERY/PURCHASER
We are in this together and let's work together
Sensory evaluation can be done in tandem with lab testing but not instead of lab testing
Crop insurance will only cover losses if lab tests indicate smoke taint, but even this will not cover vineyard labor and operations costs during harvest
Disaster assistance is not yet available to cover the loss of grape sales due to smoke taint
Growers and wineries need to work together through disaster to sustain long-term relationships
Dropping contracts have lasting impacts on the whole industry
3. CONSIDER CUSTOM CRUSH OR THE BULK MARKET AS AN OPTION
If you facing lost grape contracts this year, you may consider crushing the fruit on your own
NVG has worked with the Ag Commissioner, Fire Chief, and Sheriff to improve the Ag Pass Program that allows companies access to properties during fire events for essential ag activities.
Updates from the Napa County Ag Commissioner In an effort to be prepared in advance of potential disasters including fire, the Napa County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office has developed a streamlined process for issuing “Ag Passes” to eligible commercial agricultural producers that may need to conduct essential ag activities during a disaster.
The Ag Pass program is intended to provide a way to identify vetted production farm and ranch owner-operators and other commodity producers to law enforcement officers and all other emergency personnel at road closures.
The Ag Commissioner’s Office is currently rolling out the 2021 Ag Pass Program in two phases:
Phase 1 begins Monday July 26. Valid Operator ID (OpID) or Restricted Materials Permit (RMP) holders within the CalAgPermits system, will receive an e-mail from an ag inspector with instructions and guidance on how to download and print out their verification card and OpID/RMP. Those entities have been evaluated and qualify for this expedited process.
Phase 2 begins Monday August 2. The Ag Commissioner’s Office will publish and share a link to a live survey for all other ag producers that are not setup within the CalAgPermits system. These producers will submit a request and ag staff will process and confirm verification or deny the application. Applicants may be required to furnish additional verification documentation specific to the type of ag production indicated. The live survey is intended for use by commercial livestock producers, production wineries, agricultural producers/processors, commercial beekeepers and property owners actively involved in their farming operations.
This year, the Ag Pass will consist of TWO parts:
2021 Verification Card: Approval of Essential Agricultural Activities document which must be printed, signed and filled out completely by the applicant.
Additional Verification Document which validates the business as a commercial agricultural operation.
It’s important to remember, the Ag Pass is not a pathway for activity outside of agriculture. Approved Ag Pass holders are expected to only access the site listed on the Verification Card presented to Law Enforcement personnel at a road closure. Finally, access to the Ag Pass program can be revoked at any time for a breach of the guidelines. For more information, please visit the Ag Department’s webpage on the Napa County website where helpful links, How-To’s, and other information related to this subject, will be available soon, or contact the Ag Commissioner's office at (707) 253-4357.
Wildfire smoke and cleanup presents hazards that employers and workers in affected regions must understand. Smoke from wildfires contains chemicals, gases, and fine particles that can harm health. Hazards continue even after fires have been extinguished and cleanup work begins. Proper protective equipment and training are required for worker safety in wildfire regions. Have N95 masks at your property before you need them. Here are the NIOSH-approved N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators you can order from.