by Barry Eberling
Grape growers in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds face new regulations designed to help reduce sediment eroding into waterways where it can hurt fish.
The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board on Wednesday passed regulations that have been years in the making. Growers will have to prepare farm plans to control sediment, nutrients and other materials that can run off during storms from vineyards and dirt roads.
by Esther Mobley
Wake-up time is 4:30 a.m. for Jesus Angel Sanchez Victoria and Cesar Alegria Ruiz. It’s early — but then again, everyone wakes up early at the River Ranch Farmworker Housing Center in St. Helena, where breakfast is served between 3 and 6 a.m.
Before they leave for their vineyard jobs, Ruiz and Victoria grab a sandwich or a burrito from the River Ranch kitchen. When their workday with Corona Vineyard Management ends — often around 4 p.m., depending on how hot it gets — it’s back to River Ranch. They spend their evenings doing laundry, listening to music, playing basketball and, every night, calling their families.
by Henry Lutz
A decade ago, Silvia Ortiz was unemployed and desperate for work. But with scant grasp of English and unable to speak it, she remembers having to ask her then 6-year-old son: “How can I tell the winemaker that I am looking for a job?”
by Henry Lutz
The customary way to get rid of vineyard clippings and old vines is to burn them in the wet season, but the times are changing.
A draft county climate action plan proposes alternatives to the traditional open burning of vineyards, while environmentalists are pushing to end burning altogether. Both efforts are rooted in ultimately reducing the county’s greenhouse gas emissions.
by NVG Task Force
"Picture this scene: This year in Napa, we have benefited from frequent and significant rain. Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s hotline announces an increasingly rare permitted burn day. An inversion layer, however, can cause smog and smoke to remain near ground level.
We all know what happens next: The match is struck and the stage is set for the kind of smoky burn that disturbs neighbors and sets a bad example of what it means to farm in the Napa Valley.
Can the industry do more to prevent the occurrences of these types of burns? Yes — ask the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Vineyard Burning Task Force."