All posts tagged: Allied Grape Growers

Franzia’s Unified Keynote Speaks to Past, Present and Future

In a rare and much anticipated public address, Bronco CEO Fred Franzia delivered the January 26 keynote speech and, with it, set the stage for the 2016 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento. Franzia paid homage to the founding figures of the California wine industry, including his uncle Ernest Gallo, with a look back at their history and, with his characteristic candor, tackled some of the trade’s most relevant topics. As the nation’s largest vineyard owner — Bronco Wine owns in excess of 40,000 acres — he was quick to count grape growers among the most interesting and opinionated people he deals with in the industry. He credited Central Valley growers with teaching him much through the many hours he’s spent in their company over the last 50 years. Expressing regard for his peers and fellow industry icons Robert Mondavi and Jess Jackson, Franzia pointed to their similar practice of always tasting blind and their keen ability to critique what they tasted. On the subject of industry growth, Franzia was at once optimistic and …

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Labor Crunch

Early responses to the California Farm Bureau Federation’s 2013 agricultural workforce survey point to labor shortages in excess of 30% and far more unmet demand for labor than in previous years. With the 2013 wine grape harvest beginning two weeks earlier than normal in California, at a time when the table grape harvest is peaking and berry crops are still in full swing, labor shortages were undeniable. According to Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers in Fresno, competition for seasonal employees is stiff as workers follow the highest-paying jobs. He cited instances of strawberry growers hiring vineyard workers, only to have raspberry growers step in and offer those workers higher wages. From all accounts, the money follows the most perishable crops. “There’s no question that wages are escalating and growers are stretching out the timing of their harvests,” DiBuduo said. “They are not getting as much fruiton the market as fast as they would like.” Fifth-generation Lodi grower Kyle Lerner was pressing chardonnay when he gave Vineyard & Winery Management an account of the …