Responding to what could be a catastrophic threat, Sonoma County Grape Growers Association (SCGGA) board recently voted to endorse passage of the CDFA's Pierce's Disease/Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Referendum.

The referendum, which is scheduled to sunset in March of 2006, assesses a fee (up to $3 per $1,000 of crop value) from winegrape growers to fund research aimed at controlling the spread of the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS) and, ultimately, neutralizing Pierce's Disease (PD). Winegrape growers are slated to decide whether to continue the assessment in a mid-May election.

“The combination of deadly Pierce's Disease with a new and highly efficient vector insect like GWSS could devastate our local vineyards, wineries and economy,” said Duff Bevill, SCGGA president. “The industry and state have done a remarkable job of containing this threat so far, but we have to remain vigilant and search for an answer. Passage of the referendum is the best way to ensure that.”

A complete list of endorsing organizations, as well as additional information on the referendum, PD and GWSS, is available at www.savecaliforniasvineyards.com.