Once again it’s game on for harvest !  Once the grapes start rolling in things heat up pretty fast. (No fermentation-related pun intended) Things can also quickly become rather chaotic when it comes to harvest related recordkeeping. Specifically your weigh tags.

If you are someone who fills out weigh tags- I’ve got a warning reminder for you: one thing the county and the state do NOT want to see on your weigh tags: numbers that are crossed out. Those numbers would of course be your weights, the gross, tare and net that are filled out on a weigh tag.

My winery harvest compliance FAQ covers this topic (click the link below)

Winery harvest compliance FAQ video # 6

This comes straight from the CA Business & Professions code § 12716.5. CORRECTION OF ERRORS A certificate on which a weight, measure, or count error is discovered after issuance shall be corrected by issuing a correction certificate to all parties who were issued the original certificate. The word “INCORRECT” shall be written across the face of the original certificate. The original certificate number and reason for the correction shall be recorded on the correction certificate.

Though this is regulated by the Department of Weights and Measures with the CA Department of Food & Agriculture, the follow up on site auditing is handled by your local county agricultural commissioner offices. It has been my experience with their audits that they don’t let you know that they are coming either. But when they do show up they’ll request to see your recent weigh tags in the books or other forms they live in and will then sit down and start to look through a random sample. They are looking to see that those tags:

  • Contain certain required fields such as preprinted consecutive numbers, weighing location address, commodity type, (wine grapes!) and complete signature of the deputy weighmaster
  • That all copies in consecutive number order are there. They don’t want to flip through your copies of completed tags and find #’s 12, 13, 14 and 17. (but no 15 & 16) They want to see all consecutive numbers there even your voided tags
  • BIG no-no. Crossed out numbers on your weights. In the event that you need to change your gross or tare weight on a tag you are supposed to void that original tag (write VOID across it) and then start all over w/a new weigh tag.

This is not a comprehensive list of all items that are required to appear on a weighmaster certificate (the official term used by CDFA for a weigh tag) There is actually a nice summary list of the 13 required items along with a sample template you can use to pattern your own after. This is available on the Napa County Agricultural Commissioner’s website. Here’s a link to access and print out yourself: Weighmaster certificate template 

Even though you may be knee deep in grapes right now- being aware of how to fill out all those weight tags you’re completing NOW rather than having to deal with fix-it issues via a county audit next spring is worth taking the time.

Happy harvest everybody!

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