Central California Winegrowers (CCW) and the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) are co-sponsoring a series of wine grape tailgate meetings for growers this month throughout the southern and central San Joaquin Valley.

The first one will be March 6 at Shannon Brothers Ranch in Visalia located on the northeast corner of Road 100 and Avenue 32.

A similar event will be hosted on March 7 by Schafer Ranch in Madera located at 14484 Road. 21 (a half mile north of Avenue. 14) and the final tailgate is scheduled for March 8 at McManis Family Vineyards in Ripon at 18700 East River Road.

Each session will begin at 9 a.m.

Presentations scheduled include one by representatives of USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service on air quality regulations affecting central valley wine grape growers, and specific regulations, practices, and incentives available to growers for control of vineyard dust.

Air quality expert Randy Segawa of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation will provide information on recommended pesticide management techniques to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds.

With an emphasis on fertilizer programs to address vine nutrient needs, Bill Peacock from the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Tulare County will outline cost-effective and responsible fertility programs for Central Valley wine grapes.

Insurance concerns

Insurance issues arising from growers having to deal with problems caused by pesticide drift and vineyard dust will be covered by Melinda Chavez, Elsa Lara, and Frank Butterfield of United Valley Insurance Co.

The morning programs will conclude with host-grower presentations from Eric Shannon, Steve Schafer, and Ron McManis detailing how their on-site practices for sustainable wine growing coordinate air quality, pesticide application, and vine nutrient needs.

CCW and CSWA will host a free lunch following each program session.