Wine grape growers see value in state assessment to fight Pierces Disease

Grape growers voted to continue with the assessment on wine grapes to fund research on Pierce's Disease and other threats to California wine grapes.

PD/GWSS assessment overwhelmingly supported

55 percent of eligible voters returned valid ballots Over 83 percent voted to continue with assessment Assessment set at 75 cents per $1,000 of value

California’s wine grape growers voted overwhelming to continue the assessment on wine grapes to fund research on Pierce’s disease and other pests and diseases that threaten California’s wine grapes.

The vote was over 83 percent in favor of continuing the assessment on wine grapes, which is currently set at 75 cents on every $1,000 of value. The assessment runs until March 2021 at which time another referendum will be required to continue the program.

Wine Institute’s President and CEO Bobby Koch said, “The continuation of the research program is vitally important to combat Pierce’s Disease, other pests and diseases and helps ensure that full funding for the contain and control measures by USDA will continue.”

The PD/GWSS wine grape assessment was created in 2001 in response to the threat posed by the invasive glassy-winged sharpshooter spreading PD, which has no cure and kills grapevines. PD wiped out nearly 60 percent of the vineyards in Temecula in just two years and threatened to do the same to vineyards across California.

The assessment has raised millions of dollars to fund research into finding solutions for PD, as well as address other new and emerging threats to vineyards.

“Passage of the PD referendum shows the unflagging commitment by growers, large and small, to protect their vineyards. Fostering ongoing cooperation between industry, the state and the federal government is a proven formula to provide time to bring a long-term solution into play,” said Family Winemakers of California President Paul Kronenberg.

“A key lesson learned from our meetings on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is that continued federal funding of the PD Control Program in California rests in large part on the industry’s continued commitment to pay the PD assessment,” said California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) President John Aguirre.

“The renewal of the assessment sends a clear message to Washington that California’s wine grape growers are committed to finding a solution to PD,” Aguirre continued.

With passage of the last referendum in 2010, the PD/GWSS Board was given the authority to designate other pests and diseases detrimental to wine grapes and vines for research funding. Since then, the board has designated the European grapevine moth, red blotch, vine mealybug and brown marmorated stink bug as serious threats to wine grapes.

Wine grape growers can learn more about the PD/GWSS referendum at www.YESonPDref.org. Designed and launched by a coalition of the CAWG, Family Winemakers of California and Wine Institute, the site provides in-depth analysis of the PD Referendum and the critical work the assessment has supported since 2001. 

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