Vineyard pond project taps law to ‘dedicate’ water to fish

HOPLAND -- Conversions of former pear orchards in Mendocino County to grapevines is nothing new and construction of sizable off-stream ponds to collect winter stream runoff for spring vine frost protection is gaining momentum with new state and local rules, but one major North Coast winegrape grower’s project to do both adds a new element, dedicating a majority of historical water rights back to the stream.Important legal changes for wine, alcohol in 2012

Important laws and regulations affecting members of the California wine and alcohol beverage industry in 2012 include clarification on third-party marketing and promotions, a new direct-to-consumer wine retail license, permission for on-premise infusion of wine and spirits with flavors, a change in the definition of “distilled spirits” for taxation purposes, new state Russian River frost-protection water rules and agricultural union elections law changes.