Update on Volkswagen Diesel Fraud Case

We filed an action in Butte County on May 17, 2018 with the intent of having a jury decide punitive damages. We would be the first party to bring the defeat device case to jury trial.  Peer reviewed studies proved thousands of people with lung diseases died from the fraud.  


Wine Industry Concerns by Fortune

Posted by DeLacy Fletcher on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 Under: Business
The U.S. wine industry is poised for another banner year in 2017. Sales are projected to rise by as much as 6% and the total harvest in California—by far the largest wine-producing state—should climb 7% to nearly 4 million tons crushed. The coveted millennial generation is increasingly paying more attention to wines.

Those trends all imply that the wine industry is crushing it. Higher sales, mostly fueled by "premium" priced wines at $9 or higher, bode well for big producers like E&J Gallo Winery, The Wine Group and Constellation Brands (STZ, -0.02%).

But wine producers are increasingly focused on two lingering concerns that they worry can be problematic headwinds: Labor shortages during the harvest season and the threat of legalized marijuana as an alternative to wines. "Farm labor supply and costs will be the dominant concerns in the wine business in 2017," says Rob McMillan, who authored Silicon Valley Bank's annual "State of the Wine Industry" report.

Labor Shortage

For several years now, the California wine industry has faced challenges employing enough skilled laborers during the harvest season. Traditionally, Golden State wine makers relied on the flow of migrant workers from Mexico—often men in their 20s through 40s in age that have had experience working on farms. Those workers would come to California for the spring for the harvest, spend about six months working in the United States, then return to Mexico in the off season.

But the flow of workers coming north from Mexico has slowed the past several years. "We don't have the resources," says Duff Bevill, who serves on the board of Sonoma County Grapegrowers. He says that while the number of wine grape growing acres in the county has remained steady at around 60,000 since the financial crisis, the availability of labor has been consistently shrinking.

Marijuana's threat

Beyond the pressure on the work force, some wine producers expressed worries about the threat of competition from drugs that are a substitute to wine. Specifically, they are worried about the movement by several states to legalize cannabis. As of today, eight states—including California—and D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use. More than a dozen additional states have approved the drug for medical use. Americans and Canadians have spent an estimated $53.3 billion on marijuana annually, with legal purchases on the rise.

That's led some observers to fret that sales could decrease for alcoholic beverages. Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azer issued a widely cited report late last year that said there were signs cannabis sales were hurting demand for beer across several states where marijuana was legal. Domestic big beer brands like Bud Light and Coors Light appeared to face the greatest competitive threat to cannabis, while imported beers looked the most immune.

Wine producers are worried their industry could see a slowdown as well. If the trend were to mirror what some are claiming is happening in the beer world, lower priced wines could see the greatest dent to sales. Fine wines, which are often consumed for special occasions and often at expensive restaurants, will likely be less hurt by the rise of marijuana."It is too soon to call," McMillan said. "People don't drink wine to get high, they smoke marijuana to get high. I don't think it will hurt demand."

Read more here.

In : Business 

Tags: california  wine  northern california  marijuana  labor  cannabis  sales  farm labor 


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