June 4, 2023

Episode #270 – You can’t volunteer to pick grapes!

All across America—scratch that— all around the world, countless wine lovers with a desire to learn more about winemaking or simply participate in the process of this age-old art, volunteer their services in vineyards and wineries with passion and pride.

Westover Winery, closing its doors this fall because of extraordinary labor law fines.
Westover Winery, closing its doors this fall because of extraordinary labor law fines.

Now, labor laws with a very different original purpose are being reinterpreted and used to harshly penalize and potentially shut down wineries. One very small winemaking operation operated by Bill and Jill Smyth, Westover Winery in Northern California, was fined so severely, they are shutting their doors.

The show begins with David Wilson and Bill Smyth discussing the gory details of this case that is sending shockwaves throughout the wine industry. Later, David speaks with a former Westover Winery volunteer who explains why he loves helping out. Finally David and another grape harvesting and winemaking volunteer from another region discuss the enormous scope of volunteer labor and why this guest is afraid to disclose his identity on the show.

Bill & Jill Smyth, owners of Westover Winery

Seldom will you ever see your mild-mannered host so completely outraged, so fill up your glass and try to keep your blood pressure from boiling over.

TAKE ACTION: Please let your representatives know how you feel about this very important issue! Please call:

State Assemblyman Bill Wykowski at 510-577-2130

State Assemblyman Bill Quirk at 510-583-8818

Candidate for Assembly, Bob Brunton at 510-657-8645


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