Independent Grape Growers - Paso Robles Area
Gold Members


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

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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

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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

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:

Crop Insurance Deadline – January 31, 2016

You must sign up no later than January 31, 2016,  to have coverage for this crop year. The federal crop insurance program is the only subsidized insurance plan that provides coverage against perils for your growing crops. Where to Buy Crop Insurance All multi-peril crop insurance, including CAT policies, are available from private insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA service centers and on the RMA website at:

Grapes are insurable if the vines:

  • Have reached the fourth growing season after being set out; or
  • Have reached the third season after grafting for all varieties. Many varieties of grapes are listed for each county. You must insure all your acreage of a particular variety in a county at the same coverage level. However, one variety can be insured and not another. For example, you could insure all your Chardonnay and none of your Merlot vineyards.

Counties Available:  Grapes are insurable in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Yolo counties. Grapes in other counties may be insurable by written agreement if specific criteria are met. Contact a crop insurance agent for more details.

Causes of Loss

You are protected against the following:

  • Adverse weather conditions;
  • Earthquake;
  • Failure of irrigation water supply, if caused by an insured peril during the insurance year;
  • Fire;
  • Insects or plant disease, but not damage due to insufficient or improper application of control measures;
  • Volcanic eruption; or
  • Wildlife.

Insurance Period

To insure the crop you plan to harvest this year, you must apply for coverage with a crop insurance agent before January 31. Insurance coverage begins in February for vineyards that haven’t been insured before and ends the earlier of the date harvest ends or November 10.

Important Dates

  • Sales Closing/Cancellation….…..January 31, 2015
  • Acreage Reporting……………….….May 15, 2015
  • Premium Billing…………..…………August 15, 2015
  • Termination…………..…….…………January 31, 2016

Price Election

The price used to calculate your premium and Indemnity. Price elections vary by variety and County. Contact a crop insurance agent for current information.

Coverage Levels and Premium Subsidies

Coverage levels range from 50 to 85 percent of your approved yield. Crop insurance premiums are subsidized as shown in the following table. For example, if you choose the 65-percent coverage level, your premium share would be 41 percent of the base premium.

Catastrophic Risk Protection (CAT) coverage is fixed at 50 percent of your approved yield and 55 percent of the price election. CAT is 100 percent subsidized with no premium cost to you. There is, however, an administrative fee of $300 per crop per county, regardless of the acreage.

Loss Example

Assume 65-percent coverage, 100 percent price election of $550 per ton, an average yield of 6 tons per acre, Chardonnay variety in San Joaquin county, and 100 percent share.

  • 6 Ton average per acre
  • x 0.65 Coverage level percentage
  • 3.9 Tons per acre guarantee
  • – 2.0 Tons per acre actually produced
  • 1.9 Tons per acre loss
  • x $550 Price election
  • $1045 Gross indemnity per acre

Price used above is for example only. Contact a crop insurance agent for current information. Where to Buy Crop Insurance All multi-peril crop insurance, including CAT policies, are available from private insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA service centers and on the RMA website at:

This fact sheet gives only a general overview of the crop insurance program and is not a complete policy, it has not been updated by the USDA since 2015.  For further information and an evaluation of your risk management needs, contact a crop insurance agent. Or, Teresa Doughton, USDA, at 530.792.5888

Message to Grape Growers

The past four years of drought and the large amounts of poor quality water has had a devastating impact on some of the older vineyards. I am seeing some now that will not come back, others with normal rainfall and not only for one year may take a couple years to recover. With the increase cost of labor and chemical etc.  and now the water issue and the possibility of a very expensive water district. This is not a recipe for the survival of a grape grower.

The winery’s and growers need to have a better understanding of each other’s needs; growers will not survive with the current prices for wine grapes. An example at 3000 dollars per ton the wine in a bottle is 4.30, glass, corks, capsules, labels and wood for aging 3.50 = 7.80 per bottle and then sold for fifteen to eighty dollars a bottle and some even more.

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Crop Insurance Basics





Causes of Loss

Damage to your crop from adverse weather conditions (frost, heat, excessive wind, hail, etc), insects, disease and wildlife are all covered causes of loss.

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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:

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Lowell’s Corner- Petiole Samples

Lowell’s Corner

May 2014

This is going to an interesting season. Bud break was as early as I have ever seen it, up to 3 weeks ahead of normal. Will this lead to an early harvest? It is too soon to say, but I expect that it will.

One thing for sure is that it has led to an early bloom with many blocks of chardonnay and pinot already blooming. Remember that bloom is the optimum time to take petiole samples and for many growers petiole samples should be taken in the next couple of weeks.

It is important to make sure that you don’t take the samples

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