A group of lawmakers want the Department of Agriculture to include wine grape producers in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
The Congressional Wine Caucus, a group of lawmakers representing wine-producing states, sent the request to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week. The lawmakers say the cessation of wine sales in multiple market channels has disrupted supply chains and forced wine grape growers “to swim against a tide of deteriorating prices.”
An industry analyst projects revenue losses for the nation’s 10,000 wineries and 8,000 growers due to COVID-19 could reach $5.94 billion.
Due to the unique character of the wine grape crop cycle and the processing, marketing, and sales of wine, wine grape growers and the organizations representing them have struggled to quantify a price decline for wine grapes during a January to April timeframe, as dictated currently by CFAP requirements.
The lawmakers believe the “narrow, retrospective timeframe unfairly denies support to a vitally important sector of the agricultural community, one that is responsible for an enormous amount of economic activity.”