Independent Grape Growers - Paso Robles Area
Gold Members


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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

The 2017 Season in Review

The 2017 Season in Review

The fall is the time of change for grape growers in the Paso Robles Area. Grapes are harvested. Grape vines with vigorous canopies only a month ago are now losing leaves and going to sleep. It is time to invoice your wineries and hope they pay quickly, so you can pay your bills. Hopefully, in a few weeks you can relax and maybe even take a vacation.

You know that in a few short months you will be right back at it, worrying about frost, Powdery Mildew sprays, do I need a new purchase agreement, should I buy crop insurance, when do I start irrigation’s and many more things that make grape growing challenging and exciting.

But, before we rush ahead, let’s review the 2017 season. One of the biggest events of the 2016 (fall) and 2017 (winter and spring) was that we FINALLY got an average amount of rain in the Paso area and some areas, especially on the Westside, more than usual. This amount of rain was beneficial in many ways. It leached accumulated salts out of the root zone, and this lead to decent canopy growth for the first time in years. This caused other problems later in the season, but more about that later.

The rainfall did cause a few issues, namely later spring growth of cover crops and/or weeds in between the rows. This growth interfered with frost protection practices, i.e mowing, but I heard of very few instances of frost damage in 2017. Another issue associated with the “normal” amount of rain, was the ability to spray pre-emergent herbicides under the vines last winter. This lead to some weed control issues, but nothing really bad.

May, June and July all seemed pretty average, which is a good thing. The one thing grapes love is consistence. The can deal with warm weather and they can deal with cool weather, but not rapid changes between them both. There were a few times in May and June where we went from warm to cool to warm in just a few days, but in general these weren’t bad. July was consistently hot, but that is July.

Then came August and early September. The middle part of August was nice, maybe even cool by August standards, with many days having high temperatures in the 80’s. Then came the last week of August and the first few days of September. WOW! Some of my vineyards had temperatures which exceeded 110 for close to 10 days. Grapes are in general a hardy plant, but few plants (other than Cacti) are that hardy. It appears that yields were affected primarily on the eastside of Paso, with many blocks yielding less than 2 tons per acre.

My first harvest of the year is always a block of Sauvignon Blanc, that usually gets harvested in late August or early September. This year harvest was September 6th and I got almost 7 tons per acre. It is usually a high yielding block, but this was a record.

I was excited, that maybe it would be a good year for all blocks, but turns out that blocks right next to this one were some of the poorest I have had. Close, but not as bad as 2015.


Associate News


• An All-Wood Sustainable Pest Control Solution
• Designed in conjunction with Dr. Martin Cody
• Handmade out of wood by Amador County craftsmen – Four Models





IGGPRA Publishes Nov-Dec 2017 Newsletter

The Independent Grape Grower announce the publication of their most recent newsletter

Click here down load a copy

Or Click here to go to website page with all of the most recent newsletters

If you like to be mailed a “hard copy” send an email to

Tribute to Richard Sauret

Dear IGGPRA members and friends,

IGGPRA will have a memorial to Richard Sauret Wednesday October 25th at Rava Wines. For more information and to register for the event please go to our events page (or CLICK HERE)

Richard was our President for many years, and a strong advocate for independent grape growers. His love for growing grapes was something he happily shared with everyone. We would love for you to join us in celebrating his life and legacy.


Thank you

New grant funds available for wine grape growers

Grant funding opportunities, a Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter update and more at IGGPRA’s October seminar: “Vines Never Sleep”

After what looks to be a difficult production year for Central Coast wine grape growers, there may be some relief ahead. Devin Best, Executive Director for the Upper Salinas/Las Tablas Resource Conservation District says there are several grant opportunities available to growers in 2018. He will discuss them at Vines Never Sleep – a seminar hosted by the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area (IGGPRA) on October 19, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles.

“There are great opportunities out there for growers to get funds to help them with soil projects, irrigation and more,” Best said. “From $50,000 to $250,000, the funds are there and I’m looking forward to this opportunity to let growers know how to get them at the upcoming IGGPRA seminar.”

Best’s presentation will kick off the seminar which will also include other issues growers should prepare to do after harvest. The meeting will conclude with the latest updates on the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter situation in San Luis Obispo County. Other topics include how to improve soil nutrition and prepare the vineyard for its dormant season.

The featured speakers and topics are:

New Funding Initiatives –  An update on grants from the California Department of Food & Agriculture Healthy Soil Initiative, SWEEP (State Water Energy Efficiency Program) and more.
Speaker: Davin Best, Executive Director, Upper Salinas/Las Tablas Resource Conservation District

Soil Nutrition – Improving and maintaining soil health.
Speaker: Dean Harrell, Instructor/Consultant, Cuesta Community College

Putting the Vineyard to Sleep – How to get your vineyard ready for winter including Eutypa control.
Speaker: Lowell J. Zelinski, Ph.D., Owner/Viticulturist, Precision Ag Consulting

VINEYARD ALERT: Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Update
Speaker: Edwin Moscoso, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner, San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures.



“Practical Grape Growing” is an eight-part seminar series offered by IGGPRA in 2017 that provides growers and industry professionals with practical tips and information from local experts. All wine grape growers are invited and encouraged to attend. The seminar is free for IGGPRA members and $30/pp for non-members.

The meeting will be held at Castoro Cellars located at 1318 North Bethel Road in Templeton. To RSVP for the October 19 seminar, or learn more call (805) 591-4204 or register.