Independent Grape Growers - Paso Robles Area
Gold Members


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.



September Seminar Recap

Hello All,

A few years ago, the IGGPRA Board committed to increase the number of Seminars and align the topics to the grape growing cycle. We’ve been successful with that approach and typical attendance ranges for 40-80; member and non-members alike.

In 2017, we determined that there were many topics and issues in the grape growing business that were not necessarily related to the growing cycle but of interest to our members. While we always try to have at least one speaker for the grape growing process at each seminar, we are also trying to bring topics that will expand our members understanding of other aspects in the wine and grape growing market.

The September 20th seminar was a good example of that, and here are the

Read more »

CAWG Webinar: Joint Liability – Growers and Farm Labor Contractors

Tuesday, APRIL 25 from 10-11 A.M. – Register Here!

For generations, growers have used farm labor contractors (FLCs) to supply workers when needed for various vineyard tasks. While the FLC has primary employer responsibilities, various legal decisions and legislation – such as AB 1897 – now make the grower jointly liable for issues such as unpaid wages, H-2A visa programs, MSPA and worker transportation, and worker safety and workers compensation insurance. It is increasingly critical for growers to have an understanding of the liability shared, and the need to evaluate and monitor their FLCs on compliance issues. The webinar is presented by Lupe Sandoval, managing director of the California Farm Labor Contractor Association.
Learn more about:

* Understanding joint liability
* Factors that increase the potential for joint liability claims
* Legal requirements and best practices to manage joint liability

* Resources to managing joint liability

Please note: Any vineyard management company that provides workers to a grower or other entity, is, by law, a farm labor contractor and must be licensed by the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Smoke Taint and You

What to do when smoke gets in your vines
By: Becky Zelinski

When wineries ask you how you knew whether or not smoke taint has affected your vineyard, it’s best to be know the answers. Growers can find out how to be prepared at the September IGGPRA (Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area) seminar to be held at La Quinta Inn & Suites on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to smoke taint, the latest updates on Red Blotch and Bunch Rot will be discussed.

Like it or not, the California Central Coast has been affected by its share of smoke in 2016. It’s difficult to know at this point which vineyards have been affected with smoke taint and to what degree. Therefore, the million-dollar question on the minds of every grower is: has my fruit been affected; and if so, to what degree and what does it mean?

The short answer is: it’s complicated. Believe it or not, smoke taint is variable from vineyard to vineyard and even within a vineyard. The taint is caused by a

Read more »

Terroir and other Myths of Winegrowing

What if everything you know about terroir is wrong?

Author of a new controversial book about winegrowing is coming to Paso Robles


July 26, 2016 (Paso Robles, California) – Throughout the ages, winemaking and more recently wine marketing, has been shrouded in mystery and mystique. Centuries old traditions of terroir have been passed down through the generations like sur names.

Although the tales of terroir sound alluring, and to consumers sometimes more intoxicating than the wine itself, a viticulturist from the University of California, Davis says it’s time to examine whether the tenets of terroir are myth or fact.

Mark Matthews, professor, viticulturist and now author of the recently published and somewhat provocative “Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing” will be speaking at The Paso Robles Inn on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from 12 pm – 3 pm. Matthews – who came to the study of winegrowing first as an agronomist and plant physiologist, said the more he worked with viticulture, the more he found that some of the viticulture models were inconsistent with crop science and plant physiology. The discrepancies motivated him to experiment to find out how terroir and other vineyard management concepts “have played out in the written record, and to hold those ideas up to the available objective and empirical evidence.”

“For much of the received wisdom on the nature of winegrapes, there is a disparity between the passion behind each belief and the supporting evidence,” Matthews says. “The models of wine quality are cultural and ephemeral, but plant interactions with the environment are not.”

According to Matthews, plant science and what we know about wine production has changed significantly over the years, but that the traditions and stories of why certain wines are deemed best remain unaffected. He says it is time that terroir, yield and its impact on quality and other important factors be critically and empirically reviewed so the discussion about grape-growing paradigms can objectively take place.

Matthew’s presentation is a segment of ongoing educational seminars presented by the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area (IGGPRA). The seminar is entitled “Terroir and Other Winemaking Myths” will also feature Halter Ranch Vineyard & Winery winemaker, Kevin Sass, who will be speaking about “The Influence of vineyard conditions and practices on wine quality.”

IGGPRA president, Lowell Zelinski, who developed the seminar, is a former UC Davis colleague of Matthews. When Zelinski first heard about the book, he thought it was an important topic that the wine industry should bring to light.

“As a scientist I am always looking for empirical evidence,” Zelinski said. “Come find out whether our notion of terroir is just a fairy tale or if the emperor is wearing no clothes.”

The meeting is open to the public. You can also register by calling the IGGPRA phone number 805-591-4204 or sending an email to

Register by Clicking Here

Admission includes lunch and limited seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The cost to attend is $50/pp and $25/pp for IGGPRA members. A 20% early registration discount is available through August 12, 2016.

Learn About Navigating Risks with Sustainable Winegrowing Practices

THURSDAY, JUNE, 16, 2016
9 AM – 12:30 PM (lunch included)

Eos Estate Winery, Heritage Room
2300 Airport Rd | Paso Robles, CA 93446

Free Seminar Sponsored by The California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance, USDA, and The Paso Robles Wine Alliance.

Sign up today!


Download A Winegrowers’ Guide to Navigating Risks today
Learn how sustainable winegrowing practices can help to mitigate risk in the vineyard, winery and marketplace. Topics include drought mitigation, water conservation/quality, soil and air quality, pest management, employees, energy efficiency, severe weather and natural disaster risks, insurance and business planning and more.

RMA Guide Cover 2

June Seminar Report & Irrigation Management System Review Handout

IGGPRA just finished its June 2016 seminar at the Paso High Performing Arts Center. What a venue! Thank you Paso Robles High. IGGPRA has formed a new relationship with Paso High thanks to Joe Irick. We will update you soon on the specifics.

A more complete review of the seminar will be available soon, but here’s a handout that I prepared comparing and contrasting different methods of irrigation scheduling. The handout is an abbreviated summary of my presentation posted here.

Thanks to all that attended. We have a very exciting schedule coming up so stay tuned.

Sustainable Winegrowing and Certification Webinar

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Assessment Workshop

Participate in this free webinar to learn about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP), how to complete a Self-Assessment using the SWP Online System and the steps required to become Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW). The Performance Metrics project and online metrics tool will also be covered.

Webinar Registration:

September’s Seminar Info

Thank you everyone who joined us at September’s Seminar- we had a great turn out and learned a lot from our 4 speakers. Thank you also to Vina Robles for letting us hold the seminar at their winery.

For those who couldn’t make it we are happy to share with you the presentation slides from the NRCS and Dr. Lowell Zelinski.


Topics & Speakers:

Read more »