Wine Grapes COVID-19 Relief Pt 1

Wine Grapes COVID-19 Relief Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. The Congressional Wine Caucus is leading a Bipartisan call to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue for COVID-19 relief for the wine industry.

U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse is Caucus Co-Chair and the Sunnyside Republican says the wine industry is one of many in desperate need of economic assistance …

NEWHOUSE … “The wine industry, just in the state of Washington, as you know, has grown tremendously over the last several decades. And, it’s looking to experience almost a billion dollars in losses this year due to the pandemic.”

That’s not to say, according to Newhouse, that the Ag Department isn’t trying …

NEWHOUSE … “The USDA has been going through some of its rule-making processes. With our input, we’re encouraging them to include as many of the specialty crops, which wine grapes fall into that category, as possible. And so, we’re encouraging them, working with them to make that happen.”

But, Newhouse says it’s not yet a done deal …

NEWHOUSE … “The Secretary has expressed some reluctance not feeling that he has the authority to move forward in as strong a way as we would like him to see. But, certainly this is part of the package that we’re hoping will be brought forward in another coronavirus relief package.”

The letter notes the exclusion of wine grapes from the list of eligible commodities for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and details the losses experienced by growers.

Tune in tomorrow for more.


BL: Welcome back to another “Fruit Bites” brought to you by Valent U.S.A. With us as always is Valent’s Allison Walston. And this week Allison, we’re dealing with wildfires in the west and any impact on fruit?

AW: scientists have been evaluating food safety from wildfire impacted areas after the 2017 wildfires in fruit regions, with wine grapes being the most impacted.

BL: And, Oregon State University has an online food safety and wildfire resource with links for the food industry, worker health and consumer safety.

AW: Food safety studies show that washing produce mitigates most of the impact of wildfire contamination. If it still looks questionable, follow the slogan “if in doubt, throw it out”.

BL: And, for worker safety, COVID-19 mask and hand washing requirements are even more important as they protect from smoke inhalation and reducing fire containments on people and fruit.

AW: Two of my colleagues at the Valent Group Companies lost their home last week to a wildfire. Please reach out to friends and family. For those near a fire, have a plan and ask for assistance. Please be safe out there.

BL: Well, thanks Allison. Join us again next time for Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I’m Bob Larson.

Previous ReportCherry Challenges Pt 3
Next ReportWine Grapes COVID-19 Relief Pt 2