California farmworkers bring in wine-grape crop in a cloud of smoke

With wildfires still blazing in Northern California and 222,000 acres already destroyed, vineyard workers are breathing particulate-filled air as they bring in the grape crop. Many of the workers are undocumented and can't afford to lose a paycheck even if their homes were destroyed in the fires that have consumed the region.

Heat blamed for California farmworker deaths; should we expect more?

According to the United Farm Workers, three female grape pickers died in California this week, most likely because of the heat, said ABC News–Kero/Bakersfield.

Grapes of cash: Why one Japanese cluster sold for $11,000

In Japan, the season’s first fruits are prized possessions, bought by the rich as status symbols. Last week, a grocery store owner broke world records, when he bid 1.1 million yen at an auction—nearly $11,000—for a cluster of 30 grapes that took 14 years to grow, The Guardian reports.

California eyes slow shift to control of groundwater usage

Since the days of the Gold Rush, "groundwater has been considered a property right; landowners are entitled to what's beneath them," says the Los Angeles Times; California is the only state in the West that does not regulate groundwater.