Independent Grape Growers - Paso Robles Area
Gold Members


Central Coast Grape Expo – November 9, 2018


Don’t miss the 2018 Central Coast Grape Expo, November 9, 2018 from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Paso Robles Event Center. IGGPRA, along with many industry businesses are sponsoring the event.

The day kicks off with a welcome breakfast at 7:15 a.m. Sessions start at 7:30 a.m. and there’s tri-tip lunch at noon. You can earn up to 3 hours of PCA credit (including laws and regs), and up to 6 hours of CCA credit. There’s no cost to attend and you can pre-register at

Sessions and speakers include:

Grapevine Redblotch Alters Berry Ripening of Cabernet Sauvignon, Luca Brillante, Department of Viticulture & Enology, California State University, Fresno.

Herbicide Resistance: It’s Not Going Away, Scott Steinmaus, Department Head, Horticulture & Crop Science, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

State of the Central Coast Grape Industry Breakout Seminars

Establishment Success of Pest Resistant Grapevine Rootstocks, Jean Dodson Peterson, Wine & Viticulture Department, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Biopesticides – Role in the Central Coast Viticulture Pest Management, Dan Rodrigues, Vina Quest & Wine & Viticulture Department, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Grower Panel Discussion: 2018 Season Review, Moderator: Lowell J. Zelinski, Ph.D., President, Precision Ag Consulting & the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area. Panelists: Neil Roberts, Erin Amaral and Greg Gonzalez

Laws & Regulations, Laura Ramage, Inspector Biologist, San Luis Obispo Department of Weights & Measures.

For complete details or to register, visit or call 559-298-6020.






So what is the Crush Report

The Utility of the Crush Report
By Audra Cooper
Broker/Partner at Turrentine Brokerage

Each year, around February 10th, The California Department of Food and Agriculture publishes the annual preliminary California Wine Grape Crush Report.  The final crush report is released in March. This report is a critical barometer for the wine and grape industry, containing tons crushed and prices of wine grapes sold during each growing season/harvest. The Crush Report provides growers and wineries insight into the inventory position for the California wine business as a whole, and influences market dynamics for the current bulk wine market as well as the upcoming harvest.

For our purpose, there are three tables within the report that give us the clearest picture of what was harvested and the price paid per ton.

  • Table 2 details tons crushed by California processors and is broken down by variety and district.
  • Table 8 details tons crushed by California processors with brix and the base price per ton paid. Specifically, when reviewing Table 8, one will see every ton of grapes crushed in California with an attached price per ton, whether originally owned by a grower or winery.  In other words, every ton of grapes that crosses a scale and that is crushed in CA must have a price per ton and brix attached to it that is later reported to the CDFA and contained in this table.  In short, Table 8 gives us a clear view of what was harvested, at what brix level, and at what price per ton.
  • Table 10, on the other hand, contains the weighted average grower return per ton. Table 10 is best used for district average pricing because it eliminates any fruit that is winery owned (estate, leased, etc.) which could skew the district average price per variety.  It is important to note Table 10 only utilizes data for wine production, unlike the similar Table 6 which reports grower returns for grapes going to wine, vinegar, concentrate, juice, and brandy production.

Professionally, I use Table 2 and Table 10 the most throughout the year.  I utilize both as a reference in presentations, interviews, and most importantly in the occasional conversation with clients.  Why only occasionally?  For the most part, the district average price does not greatly influence the spot market grape price and more often than not, each grower needs customized advice as well as the knowledge of all market factors in order to make informed business decisions.  Keep in mind when discussing the district average price per ton, we are essentially referencing a data point that occurred in the previous year and not the current times we are attempting to navigate.  That said, there is a lot one can deduce from the crush report, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me to further discuss.


September Blog – Biological Soil Fertility & Late Season Botrytis

Special Blog Post on Fall Concerns





Cristy Christie
Black Diamond VermiCompost
Post Harvest Biological Soil Fertility


Grape growers around the globe are recognizing the need to add nutrients to their vineyards after harvest.  In-season tissue analysis determines post-harvest soil and foliar applications of nutrients to help the vines build and store the carbohydrates and sugars. These nutritional needs have been well documented by universities and growers alike from South Africa to Australia New York to here on the West Coast.  As grapes enter dormancy, the maximum crop potential for the next growing season has most likely already been determined.

What else can growers do to add value to their pocketbook next year? Not only is early season growth potential determined by the nutritional reserves that have been built up prior to leaf drop (photosynthesis), root activity is also largest immediately post-harvest. But what is it that makes the root systems active and vigorous? A large part of the answer is found in the soil life.  Call it productive soil, healthy soil, microbial soil life or the soil food web, it’s all the same. Plants have amazing communication skills. The vast majority of soil microbes have yet to be identified, but what we do know is when a large variety are added to soil, the entire plant, including fruit, above and below ground, benefit.

[Excerpt] Extensive communication occurs between plants and microorganisms during different stages of plant development in which signaling molecules from the two partners play an important role. Fungal and bacterial species are able to detect the plant host and initiate their colonization strategies in the rhizosphere by producing plant growth-regulating substances such as auxins or cytokinins. On the other hand, plants are able to recognize microbe-derived compounds and adjust their defense and growth responses according to the type of microorganism encountered. You may want to re-read that a time or two to begin to realize how complex and fascinating the conversation is that takes place between soil microbiology and a plant’s root system. Minerals and microbes must both be present for the cycle to be effective.  If you want to learn more, the entire article can be found here.

There are dozens of studies and abstracts on the value of healthy soil microbiology, but suffice it to say that it’s just good farming practice to add a good dose of it with post harvest nutrients.  By adding teas and/or extracts, nutrients stored in the bodies of the microbial life are not lost through irrigation to contaminate ground water. Hair-thin fungal hyphae, or tentacles, wrap around soil particles in their search for food, forming aggregates that create great soil texture. Both the fungi and soluble organic matter are held in the soil. Bacteria release a sticky mucous that enable them to cling to solid particles of mineral and organic matter, ensuring they too remain in the soil and, like the fungi, aid in the formation of aggregates.

Properly made compost teas and extracts, when using vermicompost as the base, adds a plethora of soluble plant nutrients and growth compounds, a diverse microbial population, and organic matter that provide an ongoing supply of nutrients. The plant receives a consistent and reliable food source when bacteria and fungi feed on the organic matter. This below ground surface microbial activity releases some of the nutrients to the soil and retains others for their own energy and reproduction. When nematodes and protozoa in turn feed upon them, the nutrients stored in the bacterial and fungal cell walls are released to the soil in a highly soluble plant available form. When we feed the soil, the soil feeds nutrients to the plant.

You can learn the differences between aerated compost teas and extracts here. Supply the minerals and nutrients your vines need, add tea or extract to that solution and let nature go to work while you take a short break from the vineyards task list.

Since you have read this far…(thank you!)…I hope you will take advantage of the offer that follows. It’s a substantial discount, and we are confident that your vines will wake up next year with healthy vigor and a stronger immune system.



Dr. Lowell Zelinski
IGGPRA President

As we move into fall, most diseases of grapes, especially Powdery Mildew are no longer an issue. This assumes it has been prevented and/or controlled in the past and is not a concern right now.

But we are not out of the woods yet. There is another fungal disease of grapes which commonly occurs in the fall, but may be a pest all season long, namely Botrytis. This article will discuss the ecology and control of Botrytis in wine grapes in the Paso Robles area.

The botany of Botrytis is complex and is not really worth going into in this article. It has two different names, one for the sexual stage, which is rare and one for the asexual stage which is very common. Botrytis can infect almost all dicots (broad leaf plants) and many monocots (grasses). If you have any weeds in your vineyard they are probably a host for Botrytis. This includes the Oak trees that occur throughout Paso.

Botrytis can also survive in the soil for many years. Basically, there is no way to avoid the inoculum, it is everywhere, all the time. If this is the case, how does it not cause major problems all of the time? The answer is that it is the environmental conditions plus plant conditions that allows Botrytis to thrive. Other than on grape flowers and ripe “damaged” fruit Botrytis will not reproduce unless environmental conditions are sufficient for its growth. Botrytis needs a source of nutrients on which to feed. Flowers and damaged berries provide that source of nutrients. The environmental conditions where Botrytis can grow and thrive are fairly broad, temperature can go almost down to freezing and as high as 85 and it will do just fine. Botrytis also likes high humidity’s and even free water (like rain and heavy dew). The high humidity will most likely occur inside clusters, where after a fall rain event water will accumulate and is very difficult to get rid of.

Condition that do not favor Botrytis are dry weather, open clusters, open canopies, windy weather, low humidity, intact fruit (no damage to berry walls by birds and/or wasps).

Botrytis infected fruit is a problem on the wine making side also. Which is why so many wineries will not accept fruit with high levels of Botrytis. One the issues on the winery side is that Botrytis will convert many of the simple sugars (glucose and fructose) to more complex forms which can not be fermented. This cause fermentation to stop before the desired level of alcohol is reached. Additionally, Botrytis can release a chemical that actually kills the fermentation yeasts, which can cause stuck fermentations, further exacerbating the low alcohol problem. It also causes problems in color stability and in white varieties it can lead to browning of the juice/wine. Finally, off flavors and aromas can results in wines made from grapes high in Botrytis.

How is Botrytis controlled in the Paso area? I know this all sounds like doom and glum but actually Botrytis is only a minor problem in Paso. A major reason is our variety selection. Pinot noir can easily get Botrytis because of its thin skin characteristic (actually, the movie Sideways was right here). We also have fairly dry harvest seasons. Recall, that Botrytis need either free water or high humidity to really become a problem. The only times I’ve had an issue is when the zinfandel grapes would not sugar up and harvest was delayed until mid-November. Of course, it rained enough a few weeks before harvest that the inside of the cluster got wet and didn’t dry out. This caused two problems, the free water needed for Botrytis was available, and the berries swelled and, especially on the insides of the cluster the berry skin ruptured and therefore the fruit was no longer intact.

Finally, I have found that a fungicide spray just prior to berry closure (the time when the berries begin to touch each other) with a material that has efficacy against Botrytis has been beneficial. This has to planned month ahead of potential problems but in my experience it has been worthwhile.

Dr. Doug Gubler

There are times when events happen that are both sad and profound. One of the few UC professors who did applied as well as basic research passed away last week. Dr. Doug Gubler, UC Plant Pathologist was both amazing in his extension service to the grape growing industry throughout California but also in the basic understanding of grape diseases throughout not just California but throughout the world. He will be sorrily missed. He was a friend and an amazing source of information for many many years.

Please read the following article from Wine Business.

UCD Grapevine/Plant Pathologist Doug Gubler Dies at Age 72
by Ted Rieger
July 24, 2018

University of California extension plant pathologist Dr. Doug Gubler, perhaps best known to the wine and grape industry for his major contributions in the management and control of grapevine powdery mildew, died July 19 at age 72, reportedly from a heart attack. A faculty member with the UC Davis (UCD) Department of Plant Pathology since 1983, Gubler retired from UCD in June 2016, but remained active as a speaker at industry meetings and continued with research and consulting activities.

As a UCD plant pathologist, Gubler worked with multiple crops as a specialist in trees, vines and small fruits. He was a renowned scientist in the grape industry for his extensive knowledge of the epidemiology, management and control of grapevine fungal diseases, notably powdery mildew, Botrytis bunch rot, and grapevine trunk and canker diseases.

With research colleague Dr. Carla Thomas, he developed the Gubler-Thomas Powdery Mildew Risk Index, linked with vineyard weather stations to monitor and evaluate conditions favorable to powdery mildew growth based on vine canopy temperature. The powdery mildew index is commonly used by grape growers for deciding when to begin fungicide spray applications each season, and for proper timing of applications during the growing season.

His work on grapevine trunk diseases, and his lectures on the topic, helped growers understand that trunk disease, most commonly known as “Eutypa dieback,” could actually be one of several fungal diseases, and that over 20 canker fungal species are found in California. In addition to Eutypa dieback, other trunk diseases include Bot canker, Phomopsis dieback and Esca. His research on the timing and conditions leading to vine canker infections from fungal spores helped advise growers on practices such as late season pruning and “double pruning,” and the application of materials to pruning wounds to prevent infection, that are often used today. Gubler’s research group also showed that leaf removal could be effective for the control of Botrytis bunch rot and to help reduce powdery mildew.

Gubler was a frequent speaker at industry meetings and logged many miles throughout California each year in his extension duties to visit and assist growers in the field. He was a collaborator and a friend with many farm advisors and commercial grape growers.

In a recent e-mail sent to her grower constituents about Gubler’s passing, UC Cooperative Extension Central Sierra farm advisor Lynn Wunderlich said: “I first met Doug when I was a graduate student at UC Davis in 1994. His warm and jovial personality touched so many students, growers, and farm advisors. I collaborated with him and his lab for many years on apple scab trials in El Dorado County and later asked for his assistance to place the grape powdery mildew weather stations in Foothill vineyards. He was a popular guest speaker at my Foothill Grape Day many times. He loved his work and was always willing to come up and help with a diagnosis or problem. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”

Gubler also regularly conducted trials to evaluate new and existing fungicide application materials for their efficacy in controlling fungal diseases and to monitor disease resistance to fungicides. He collaborated with Clarksburg grape grower John Baranek for 30 years in one of Baranek’s Chardonnay vineyards to evaluate as many as 90 different treatments each season to test synthetic, biological and organic fungicides, and different combinations of them, for powdery mildew control. This vineyard then hosted an educational field day each season for growers to inspect the vines and grape bunches for the results of each treatment.

Gubler was an active member of The American Phytopathological Society (APS) that honored him in 1998 with its “Excellence in Extension” Award, and in 2009, as an APS Fellow. According to biographical information posted on the APS website, Walter Douglas Gubler was born January 28, 1946 in St. George, Utah. He graduated from Utah State College with a B.S. degree in botany in 1970 and received an M.S. degree in plant pathology from the University of Arkansas in 1974. He arrived in Davis in 1974 where he worked as a post-graduate research plant pathologist while also beginning studies toward a Ph.D degree in plant pathology that he received from UCD in 1982. He worked as a research scientist with the Campbell Soup Company at their research facility in Davis for one year before joining the UCD Department of Plant Pathology in 1983.

Canceled Chili Cookoff

Due to a lack of sign-ups we regretfully had to cancel the Chili Cookoff

We regret this decision and we are asking your help in determining the reason(s) for the low response rate for this event.

In the past it has been a popular event.

If you can respond to this email with the reasons you feel this was not an event that was popular we would greatly appreciate your input.

Please send a personal email to with your confidential comments

Thanks for you help

Lowell Zelinski

News from CAWG (California Association of Winegrape Growers)

Here is an article that appeared in the CAWG newsletter on 3-15-18

It talks about GWSS (Glassy-Winged Sharp Shooter) and PD (Pierce’s Disease). These are not currently a problem in the Paso area – but are a serious problem in other parts of the state.

Government Relations Capitol Report

The Pierce’s Disease/Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board is a model for how government and the agricultural industry can successfully work together to protect crops. However, the PD/GWSS program is facing a potential federal budget cut that threatens its continued existence.

The president’s proposed budget provides for a substantial cut, $13.5 million, in federal funding for the PD/GWSS program. Such a reduction in federal funding would, for all intents and purposes, result in a shutdown of the program, which has proved highly successful and important for California winegrape growers. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has requested $25 million in federal funding, the same amount requested last year. CAWG will work closely with CDFA to encourage support from the California congressional delegation for the request.

Winegrape growers have invested millions in the successful eradication of the disease and the vector. Continued trapping throughout the state will indicate if/when there are any reintroductions. Without adequate funding, the PD/GWSS program will have to decide which regions are most at risk and focus only on those regions. This is dangerous, as an infestation of Pierce’s disease anywhere in California threatens winegrapes all over the state.

Last year CAWG was successful in gaining $5 million in new state funding for the PD/GWSS program. This year CAWG will continue the effort of funding this critical program.

In addition to PD/GWSS funding, CDFA and CAWG are also seeking $6.55 million funding for European grapevine moth (EGVM) surveillance in California. Continued funding for surveillance activities is critical to ensuring timely response and eradication in the event of an EGVM reintroduction to the state.

— Michael Miiller / / 916-379-8995

Members: Please join us for the Annual IGGPRA Member Meeting

Spaghetti Western Annual Meeting & MixerFriday, February 16, 2018
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Atascadero Lakeside Pavilion
9315 Pismo Avenue, Atascadero, CA  93422


The 2018 Annual Meeting is this Friday and we hope to see all of our members there.

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January News

Rain – What Rain
Associate News


Winter Irrigations

If it rains between November and March we don’t need to irrigate in the winter. This year (2017-18) rainfall as been abysmal – with the only month getting some – but still way less then normal was January where we had about 2 inches in one storm. We’ve had a tiny bit (.25 inches or less) in another storm but it essentially doesn’t count.

Grapes don’t need a lot of water in the winter, but the roots are susceptible to cold injury. Cold injury will occur if low temperatures get into the teens, with some rootstocks being much more susceptible then other. In my experience 101-14 is especially susceptible.

One thing that can really help with cold tolerance is adequate amounts of water in the top 2 feet of the soil. This isn’t required to satisfy evapotranspiration requirements but more to mediate the fluctuations in soil temperatures. That is, wet soils temperatures do not change as much as do dry soils. What this really means is that on really cold nights, the temperature at the root depth in the soil will not be as cold as the air temperature.

The cold temperature effect is complex and has to do with hormones produced in the roots just before bud break and these effect the “pushing” of buds along cordons. In general, the hormones that encourage bud break are reduced and the number of buds that push – and produce clusters (yield) is reduced

My recommendation is that any month were the rainfall does not exceed 1 in, that WINTER irrigation be applied at about 12-24 gallons per vine. The exact amount depends on rootstock, soil, and current water content on the root zone (one of the reasons to invest in soil moisture monitoring sensors).


IGGPRA elections for 5 new board members will be conducted via email very soon as well as at the member annual meeting on February 16, 2018. The meeting will coincide with our annual spaghetti western mixer and is the only event that is for members only. Visit the website on 2/1/18 to see candidates and their bio’s. You will also receive a ballot by regular mail in the first few days of February

Associate News

Central Coast Party Helpers is a GOLD associate member and they help out at all of our mixer events. They are fantastic and if you ever have a party or event you need help with I highly recommend them. They are having an Open House this Wednesday January 31, 2018 between 5 and 7 pm at their new location at 503 13th Street in Paso Robles.

Check out their website

Election for Board of Directors Annoucement

Dear IGGPRA members,

The annual Board of Directors election is upon us. The IGGPRA membership is growing in numbers and diversity. There is skill, talent and enthusiasm throughout our organization. The Board Development Committee is opening nominations to the membership. We are requesting you to give serious consideration to nomination for a board position. This year there are 2 open positions. Voting will take place by mail prior to OR at the February Mixer to be held at Atascadero Lakeside Pavilion on February 16, 2018.

The coming years promise to be exciting. We will continue to have a positive impact on the viticulture communities we serve. The Board of Directors will play a central role in this important work. As you consider this opportunity, we ask you to review the board director position below. As you will see, we are expecting the board to be an active one.

A primary responsibility of board directors is to participate in the development of policy and major decision-making at board meetings. Another key responsibility is to be active on an ongoing basis on a committee of the board. Nominees will be asked to serve on one of several committees that are also outlined below.
Since its founding in 2003 IGGPRA has become recognized as a strong advocate for grape growers in our area and is reaching outside the Paso Robles area to our neighboring counties, providing educational venues, entertaining social/networking events, with more in the planning stages. We invite you to become a part of this growing tradition.

Director position requirements:

• A two year commitment beginning March 2018
• Attendance at board meetings held on the first Thursday of each month, 5-7pm – currently at Kennedy Club Fitness, Paso Robles
• Committee participation
• Assist at three events per year, for example seminar registration/sign in, event set-up/clean up or participation at the IGGPRA booth at expos and other venues where organization presence is of value to the membership

Committees include:

Membership Development
• Recruitment
• Outreach
• Management


• Topics
• Presenters
• Venue/Location
• Currently 8 per year

Social Events and Mixers
• Themes
• Venue/Location
• Currently 4 events per year

Special events
• WiVi
• Sustainable Ag Expo
• Paso Robles Grape Expo

Winery Outreach
• Marketing & Promoting Members Wineries

The Board Development Committee invites you to contact one of us to discuss your nomination. If you wish to be considered as a candidate for the Board of Directors, please call and simply let us know you would like to run. You will be asked to attend a short orientation meeting to review board responsibilities in more detail and have all your questions answered.

There are dozens of you that have been members for many years and could offer your experience to the organization. There are also newcomers who could share personal skills and values. You are all welcome and encouraged to call us and request to be nominated for election and help IGGPRA continue to promote our Mission Statement.


Board Development Committee

Cristy Christie – 805-674-0194
Scott Mathews – 805-878-3023
Bill Livingston – 805-712-8810

Recommendation for Memorial for Richard Sauret

Roberta – Bobbie – Weideman thought it would wonderful to have the portion of 101 at Wellsona named after Richard Sauret. So, she sent an email off to Supervisor John Peschong – the following is her request and his response

Dear Supervisor Peschong,

This e-mail to you is in regard to my recommendation that the section of Highway 101 and Wellsona Road in Paso Robles be named to honor Richard Sauret as the Richard Sauret Memorial Highway.

Richard Sauret was truly one of our greatest assets to our farming community for growing grapes and helped establish the Paso Robles AVA as one of the best.

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