Vineyard Management Firm to Pay $1.4 Million to Settle Labor Issues

A class action lawsuit brought against Vino Farms, a vineyard management company that farms about 4,300 acres of vineyards in Sonoma County, was settled after the company agreed to pay $1.4 million. The 2021 lawsuit alleged Vino Farms failed to pay workers for all the hours they worked and didn't allow workers meal and rest breaks.

Separately, Noble Vineyard Management Inc., which farms about 1,500 acres of vineyards in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties was ordered by federal labor officials to pay nearly $159,000 in back pay and penalties.

It was cited for not paying contract wages to workers with agricultural temporary visas and not compensating U.S. workers at the same rate as those employees with such H-2A visas, the Labor Department announced Thursday. That amounted to $92,067 in back wages for 148 workers and $66,530 in civil penalties.

“In addition, investigators learned the employer retaliated against H-2A employees who asked about their wages by sending them back to their home countries before the contract’s end,” the department’s Wage and Hour Division said in the news release.