Month: March 2020

WSLCB Tax Payment Penalties Waived Temporarily

We have one update for you today in regards to Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order and what it means for wineries.

Taxes Deferred

Governor Inslee yesterday signed Proclamation 20-05, which allows the WSLCB to waive the penalties for failure to timely remit tax payments until April 22. This does not waive taxes due but temporarily allows for a late payment without assessing automatic, statute-directed penalties.

To be eligible for deferment: Continue to submit sales reports to the WSLCB, even if you are not able to pay on time. Submit requests to pay late & have penalties waived by email to

As a reminder, Washington wineries may continue all currently allowed activities, as the wine industry falls under the “essential workforce” category of agriculture. Although wineries and tasting rooms must be closed for in-person tastings and events, wineries may offer sales to-go, curbside sales and deliveries under proper social distancing recommendations. Please refer to the article on our website for details on all current restrictions and allowances.

Please contact us if we can help answer questions or otherwise be helpful. We are all in this together.

Governor Inslee Stay Home, Stay Safe Order Update

Thank you for your patience as we worked closely with the Washington State Wine Commission, Washington Winegrowers, and the WSLCB to confirm what Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order means for wineries. As a reminder, this order:

  1. Requires every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.
  2. Bans all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.
  3. Closes all businesses except essential businesses within 48 hours after the order is signed.

We are happy to report that we, in coordination with legal counsel Emily Gant at Foster Garvey, confirmed with the WSLCB this morning that we may continue all currently allowed winery activities, as the wine industry falls under the “essential workforce” category of agriculture.There is one additional permission now needed for curbside sales, please see below under “winery allowances.”


  1. All wineries and tasting rooms must be closed for in-person tastings and events.


The following is permitted:

  1. Wine bottle/case sales to-go. You are permitted to allow customers into your tasting room or winery to purchase wine bottles to-go, or pickup online/phone purchases.
  2. (Adjacent to Winery/Tasting Room Premise) Curbside sales and deliveries. To do sales of wine on the curbside or similar location adjacent to the winery and technically off your licensed premise, you can request curbside delivery by submitting the Added Activities form. You will need to handwrite the request for curbside delivery privileges on the form. Send the form to 
  3. All deliveries, including direct from winery to customer. If you currently have delivery privileges, you may continue to deliver product now. If not, you can request delivery privileges by submitting the Added Activities form. Please send the form to  
  4. Winery production activities.
  5. Vineyard activities.
  6. Wholesale activities. Returns of alcohol from a business to a distributor.

Please remember that all current activity must meet proper social distancing recommendations. While to-go orders are still permitted, here are a few suggestions for social distancing:

  1. Encourage customers to call in their orders before they arrive.
  2. Make any transactions swiftly.
  3. When customers arrive to pick-up, have them wait in line 6 feet apart.
  4. Encourage customers to wait in their vehicles and you can call them in or deliver wine to their car when it’s ready.
  5. Check IDs from a distance. When making deliveries, the signature requirement has been temporarily waived – just ask customers to hold up their ID and check it from a safe distance.
  6. Adopt a “no cash” policy.
  7. Remove chairs from seating areas.

Emily Harris Gant is a partner at Foster Garvey, a Washington Wine Institute Associate Member, and provided help to our association as we translated what the most recent order means to our industry. We are grateful! Emily’s practice focuses on the alcoholic beverage and cannabis industries.  You can reach Emily at or 206.816.1454.

Please contact us if you need to talk, have questions or want to brainstorm. We’re in this together.

March 2020: Washington Wine & our Temporary Reality

As the news surrounding COVID-19 changes daily, even hourly, we know you are doing everything you can to keep up, be safe, and protect your businesses. We are doing the same at the Washington State Wine Commission. In lieu of our normal monthly newsletter, we are dedicating this email to how the COVID-19 restrictions affect you, along with some resources to communicate and engage with our community and your customers. We are in this together.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced an emergency proclamation this week that mandates the temporary closing of restaurants, bars, entertainment and recreational facilities. We sent out a series of emails regarding how the WSLCB is responding, and you can refer to the latest email to get up-to-date information about current WSLCB restrictions & allowances.

The bottom line is that through March 31, and possibly longer:   All wineries and tasting rooms must be closed for in-person  tastings and events.

The following is permitted:

  1. Wine bottle/case sales to-go.
  2. Curbside sales and deliveries.
  3. All deliveries, including direct from winery to customer. Please follow these guidelines.
  4. Production activities.
  5. Wholesale activities.
  6. Returns of alcohol from a business to a distributor. More information here.


  1. FedEx has informed us that they are not requiring physical signatures for alcohol deliveries, but are still requiring the customer to show a valid ID. The FedEx driver will not touch the customer’s ID but they must show it to the driver.
  2. There has been some confusion as to whether or not you can allow customers to consume wine outside of your tasting room but still on your licensed winery premise. As of our understanding today the answer is, unfortunately, no. Under Gov. Inslee’s restrictions there is to be no consumption on your property (whether inside or outside).

We understand that these temporary restrictions will be challenging, but we have seen some really creative engagement from you already (shipping specials, complimentary hand-delivery, even supporting our friends in the restaurant industry by offering a discount on wine if a customer shows a take-out receipt). Our industry is strong, and will persevere through this.


The Washington Wine Institute (WWI) has collected information regarding Gov. Inslee’s plan for economic relief for businesses and workers impacted by the COVID 19 outbreak. You can view the latest here.

General Resources
Washington: Department of Health
National: CDC
Regional Travel & Tourism: Visit Seattle
Resources for Employers & Workers: Governor’s list of resourcesAssociation of Washington Business

Governor Inslee Announces Business and Employee Relief Measures

Governor Inslee yesterday announced details regarding economic relief for businesses and workers impacted by the COVID 19 outbreak. Below are details regarding both. We will continue to provide updates to these efforts at both the state and federal level as they become available.

In addition, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) has created a helpful resource page for businesses and their employees. You can access that page here.

Finally, AWB is hosting a COVID 19 Business Impact Webinar on Monday, March 23rd 10-11:30 AM. The speakers on the webinar confirmed come from the following agencies and related fields: WA State Department of Labor & Industries; WA Small Business Development Center, WSU; University of Washington School of Public Health; WA Emergency Management Division; U.S. Small Business Administration; WA State Department of Commerce; WA State Department of Health.

One-Week Waiting Period Waiver for Unemployment Insurance & Unemployment Insurance Eligibility Expansion:

Inslee announced a waiver of one week waiting period to receive unemployment insurance. The order is retroactive for claims filed up to March 8th. The Governor said he is working with the White House and our congressional delegation to become eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. That would allow WA State to expand unemployment insurance to those who are otherwise not eligible for unemployment insurance, like workers with less than 680 hours and independent contractors.

WA State Small Business Assistance:

Governor Inslee will allocate up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Funds reserve to be made available as small business grants to prevent closure due to COVID-19. Once available, applications will be coordinate under the state Dept of Commerce.

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans:

The federal Small Business Administration approved Governor Inslee’s request for disaster declaration, which unlocks low interest loans for WA small businesses to help meet financial obligations and cover operating expenses. Congress approved up to $7 billion in SBA disaster loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19. We encourage you to apply if needed and learn more here.

Flexibility for Tax Collections:

The WA State Dept of Revenue will have authority to waive, suspend penalties and interest on certain late payments. The state will create payment plans on the amount businesses owe without filing tax liens in federal courts. This includes waiving late filing fees for property tax exemption renewals; business license renewal late fees; and excise tax interest on B&O, real estate sales, and other taxes the department administers.

Utility Rate Payer Assistance:

The Governor called on all public Utilities in WA State to suspend disconnection tariffs for nonpayment during this emergency; waiving late fees for customers who are our of work or offering customers payment plans; and expanding bill assistance programs.

Cash Assistance to Families:

Governor Inslee has directed the state Dept of Social and Health Service to expand eligibility for the Family Emergency Assistance Program to include families without children.

Workforce Retention and Economic Development:

The Employment Security Department and Department of Commerce will lead efforts to support economic retention, resilience and recovery efforts. This team will work with the business community to move forward toward economic recovery. As resources and tools become available, check here.

Mental Health Support:

The behavioral health community is ready to help those who may be struggling with stress and mental health during this on-going crisis. If you or a family member needs emotional of mental health support, consider calling the Washington Poverty Help Center Line at 1-866-789-1511.


Curbside Deliver and More Information For Wineries

We know this is a confusing time, and you continue to get new information regarding Gov. Inslee’s restrictions on tasting rooms every day. We are dedicated to distilling this information for you in a clear, concise and timely way.

As of today, Wednesday, March 18, here is what you need to know:


  • All wineries and tasting rooms must be closed for in-person tastings and events.

The following is permitted:

  1. Wine bottle/case sales to-go.
  2. Curbside sales and deliveries. Licensed wineries may immediately sell products to customers outside of their business, but within the licensed property line. This is a temporary allowance.
  3. All deliveries, including direct from winery to customer.
  4. Production activities.
  5. Wholesale activities.
  6. Returns of Alcohol.
    1. Due to the emergent circumstances, the WSLCB is providing approval for distributors to pick up product from businesses impacted by COVID-19, which includes the allowance for distributors to provide a refund for the returned product. This is a temporary approval until April 1, 2020.
    2. Retail licensees impacted by closures may contact their distributor(s) to request the return of product.
    3. Distributors should email Lieutenant Robert Knowles with the retail liquor license number(s) and product to be returned.

Governor Inslee Statement on Temporary Shutdown of Restaurants, Bars, and Entertainment and Recreational Facilities

Governor Inslee issued an emergency declaration announcing the temporary closing of restaurants, bars, entertainment and recreational facilities. This announcement coincided with a similar statement from King County Executive Dow Constantine.

You can read the Governor’s official statement here.

The Seattle Times article here provides more detail including the closure notice will extend until March 31st.

There are allowances for wineries to provide take-out and delivery sales. We are in direct communication with the Governor’s office, the Department of Commerce and the Liquor and Cannabis Board so that we can provide that assurance and clarity for all wineries.

We will continue to communicate information from the Governor’s office, our state regulators, community resources, and information about help for small businesses and employees.

As we continue sending emails updating you as the situation evolves, we strongly encourage our wine associations, schools, and others to send these notices broadly to reach the largest amount of the WA wine industry as possible.

Resources for Businesses and Employees:

Financial Resources for WA Residents Impacted by COVID-19

COVID-19 Resource List for WA Businesses and Workers

Employment Security Department Emergency Employment Resources

Unemployment Benefits

Department of Commerce COVID-19 Info & Updates

Small Business Administration Disaster Relief Loans

Association of Washington Businesses COVID-19 Employer Resources

Additional Unemployment Security Department Resources: