California Association of Winegrape Growers
The California Association of Winegrape Growers is very concerned with sustaining the environmental, social, political, and economic underpinnings of California’s wine industry. And a lot is at stake; the winegrape industry had a $45.4 billion dollar economic impact and employed 207,550 people in 2005.
The CAWG’s stated objectives are to, “represent growers before legislative bodies, government agencies and the news media; provide an open forum to exchange ideas; resolve issues related to growing and marketing; encourage cooperative efforts among grape growers; support the continued production of quality winegrapes; work to stimulate consumption of grapes for wine and other grape-based products; collect and disseminate information on production and marketing to members; and to provide industry leadership on the development and implementation of best practices.”
It is important for California winegrape growers to have an advocate in the public policy arena. Farming grapes is a year round, labor intensive job. Most grape growers do not have the time or expertise to directly lobby in Sacramento or Washington D.C. The CAWG fills this critical role by pooling resources and taking a unified stance on the issues that are important to California’s grape growers.
One of the CAWG’s current projects is lobbying to prevent misleading consumers on the origin of the grapes used to make a bottle of wine. As more and more negociants buy grapes and finished wine for their own proprietary labels, this issue is becoming increasingly important to farmers who want to get a fair price for their role in the system.
Some of the other issues that the California Association of Winegrape Growers are working on include the vineyards and wildlife habitat project, pest management alliance project, sustainable winegrowing program, and good neighbor & community relations project.