The Assembly and Senate held a joint hearing on wine and the California wine industry, looking at market trends and the industry's future. As the fourth largest wine producer in the world, California has a vested interest in maintaining and supporting the industry. The hearing focused on programs/education and research and included panels of growers and researchers to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing wine growers and marketers. When looking at the younger demographic, many wineries are finding it is crucial to focus on their social media presence. They are offering more personalized experiences for those touring, while maintaining highly sustainable practices - of high interest to the millennial generation. To improve sustainable practices, growers discussed implementation of advanced science through genome editing research to limit the amount of pesticides applied and the need for more research on precision farming. “In the last couple years I think labor has surpassed the issue of water as the key issue in the technical side of wine making, and we are addressing that as well through automation and mechanization,” said David Block of UC Davis. One of the biggest concerns about the future is the heavy tariffs affecting the wine industry as a result of the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China and other countries like India. Effective June 1, China added another 15% tariff on U.S. wine imports to their country. The additional 15% tariff is on top of a previous 15% tariff increase implemented in April 2018 and another 10% increase in September 2018. Mention was made that upon the completion of Brexit, it will help the wine industry be able to negotiate directly with Britain regarding trade, rather than the EU. Additional concerns focused on finding labor, training employees in order to handle newer technologies and the need for high-speed internet to conduct business and keep records.
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