Farmworkers Allege Unsafe Conditions at One of County’s Largest Vineyard Management Companies

April 22, 2023 | Source: Napa Valley Register | by Jeremy Hay & Jennifer Sawhney

More than 100 farmworkers and supporters picketed at Vino Farms in Healdsburg Friday, calling attention to what they described as inhospitable, sometimes dangerous working conditions at one of the largest vineyard management companies in Sonoma County.

Former Vino Farms workers said the company uses synthetic pesticides like Roundup that are believed to cause cancer in its farming and that workers often have to apply those chemicals without much protective gear.

Other complaints: Supervisors often prohibit water breaks during the hottest, busiest times of harvest; the company has used temporary agricultural workers to illegally replace longtime field employees; and that workers have been retaliated against for pointing out those issues.

“When we were spraying at night, the Roundup was blowing because of the wind and it affected us, but … the bosses did not give us much protection,” said Tomas Uriarte.