Wine & Agriculture

California’s Fifth Congressional District is a world-renowned food and wine destination because of our vibrant agricultural and viticultural heritage. As an organic grower myself, I’m fully committed to protecting and strengthening our farming and grapegrowing communities.

Upon arriving in Washington, I immediately set about creating an organization focused on the wine community—co-founding the Congressional Wine Caucus with former Congressman George Radanovich in 1999. The Caucus is a coalition of 117 bipartisan, bicameral Members of Congress dedicated to educating our colleagues about issues affecting our nation’s wine community and advancing legislation to address these priorities. I serve as Co-Chair with Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4). Issues we’ve tackled include:

  • Passing legislation to conserve and protect vineyards and open spaces
  • Advocating for viticulture research and management funding
  • Combating the European Grapevine Moth and the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter
  • Fighting for fair market access for our wines in foreign markets
  • Protecting access to the Customs Duty Drawback program
  • Enacting and extending bipartisan legislation to modernize the Wine Excise Tax
  • Recognizing the value and contributions of American wines and grapegrowing regions

I’m also working hard to ensure our varied farming and ranching communities continue to thrive. That’s why I’ve voted for legislation to help farmers cope with uncertainty, help families put quality food on the table and help maintain our rural landscapes for generations to come by:

  • Providing emergency drought and wildfire damage relief
  • Creating a safety net for farmers and ranchers impacted by forces beyond their control
  • Securing research funding to combat crop diseases and invasive species
  • Providing nutrition assistance to children and families
  • Improving nutrition and food safety standards
  • Fostering conservation efforts on agricultural land to ensure sustainably healthy landscapes that benefit all users
  • Promoting local and regional farms and food systems
  • Supporting programs to measure and reduce food waste

Please know nothing will deter me from working to address the issues that affect growers in our community from farm to table.

More on Wine & Agriculture

Sep 8, 2021 Press Release

Napa – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced the introduction of the Local Food Production Enhancement Act. This bill would use the tax code to increase investment in agricultural production, particularly in low-income communities and those that lack access to large grocery stores, by expanding eligibility to the New Markets Tax Credit to producers in those areas. A statement from Thompson is below.

Jun 29, 2021 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) lauded the $5 million in Federal funding that he requested that will be provided through the FY2022 Appropriations bill by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Subcommittee. Thompson requested this funding in an April 2021 letter, citing the adverse effects of the recent fires on the wine community, both in California’s Fifth Congressional District and up and down the West Coast. A statement from Thompson is below.Thompson Applauds $5 Million He Requested Appropriated for Smoke Exposure Research 

Feb 14, 2020 Press Release

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), co-chair and founder of the Congressional Wine Caucus, lauded the decision by the United States Trade Representative not to increase tariffs on wine imports, a revision for which Thompson fought. A statement from Thompson is below. 

Jun 11, 2019 Press Release

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Thompson (both D-Calif.) and 17 of their congressional colleagues today called on the Trump administration to ensure any new trade agreements with China or Japan remove tariffs on U.S. wine.

            Tariffs on U.S. wine sold in China rose to 54 percent this month, up from 14 percent in March 2018. In Japan, the tariff on U.S. wine is 15 percent. In both countries, foreign competitors face either no or significantly lower tariffs, making it harder for U.S wineries to compete.

May 2, 2019 Press Release

Washington – Today Congressional Wine Caucus Co-Chair Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced the Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04) will serve as the new co-chair for the caucus. A fellow grape grower, Newhouse will help lead the bicameral and bipartisan organization for the 116th Congress.

May 18, 2017 Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)—Chairman of the Congressional Wine Caucus—met with members of the Mexican American Vintner Association (MAVA) visiting Washington to discuss how they are growing their businesses and strengthening our local economy. Among those who visited Thompson were representatives from Mi Sueño Winery and Ceja Vineyards. Click here to watch the video here or visit

Jan 23, 2017 Press Release

Washington – Today, Congressional Wine Caucus Co-Chair Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) applauded a new trade enforcement action to ensure both imported and local wines have equal access to grocery store shelves in Canada. Currently in British Columbia, only wines produced in the province can be sold on grocery store shelves. This week, the United States  challenged that regulation for discriminating against U.S. wine producers.

Jul 12, 2016 News Articles

At the behest of the local wine industry, a new proposal would toughen federal labeling standards on a bottle of wine, controlling more tightly wineries’ claims of vintage dates, varietals and geographic region where the grapes are grown.

Local vintners have complained that exemptions currently allowed by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau are misleading consumers and hurting the reputation of their local wine regions.

Apr 14, 2016 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Co-Chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus, introduced the Wine Excise Tax Modernization Act (H.R. 4934), bipartisan legislation to modernize federal excise taxes on wine to allow winemakers of all sizes and grape growers to create new, innovative products and keep pace with advances in viticulture. U.S. Rep. David Reichert (R-WA) joined Rep. Thompson in introducing this legislation.

Jul 29, 2015 News Articles

“Labeling” in the Napa Valley does not mean the same thing as it does in other agricultural areas.

Talk of labels here usually has to do with wines … as in who made it and what kind of grapes were involved.

But in other parts of California and the nation, the issue of labels has to do with the genetic engineering of foods, whether it’s corn, soybeans, salmon, or many other commodities whose DNA have been altered in a lab.