Accomplishments

2020

TAXES/REGULATION

WWI successfully protected our industry from any new taxes or regulations being placed on the industry during the 2020 Legislative Session.

DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR

WWI authored legislation head to the Governor’s Desk:

SB 6392: Creating a local wine industry association license

We want to say a huge THANK YOU to Senator Kevin Van De Wege, our prime sponsor of SB 6392. His leadership and drive to get the bill done was invaluable.  SB 6392 creates a new retail alcohol license for local wine associations so our regional wine marketing non profits can put on events and execute local wine marketing programs (ex: wine passports) in a legal and efficient way.

Other bills headed to the Governor’s desk:

SB 6095: Allowing common carrier activities not prohibited under the three-tier system

This bill supports the Alaska Airlines Wine-Flies-Free Program among other promotional opportunities with airlines, cruise ships, and trains that cross state line. Interstate common carriers can now legally partner with local wineries, breweries, distilleries, and distributors to do cross-tier advertising and partnerships (ex: Alaska Airlines plane ticket stub used to get tastings of wine at local wineries around the customer’s destination).

SB 5006: Allowing, in a limited amount, Washington wine to be sold at a craft brewery and Washington beer to be sold at a winery and satellite tasting rooms

This new law creates an on-premises endorsement for a licensed domestic winery to sell beer, produced in Washington, by the single serving for on-premises consumption and licensed domestic brewery or microbrewery to sell wine, produced in Washington, by the single serving for on-premises

The holder of the endorsement is limited to three offerings of beer for a domestic winery and three offerings of wine for a domestic brewery or microbrewery.

2019

TAXES/REGULATION

WWI successfully protected our industry from any new taxes or regulations being placed on the industry during the 2019 Legislative Session.

DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR

SB 5394: Concerning liquor licensees’ use of social media and website to promote events

WWI helped draft, introduce, and push SB 5394 to become law alongside our partners at the WA Brewers Guild. SB 5394 does three important things that should simplify and make legal our ability to utilize our social media accounts and winery websites to promote events where our wine is being featured and allow us to help make that event successful. Currently, a winery is not allowed to advertise for a retailer’s event, as current law treats such advertising as “money’s worth” and we cannot give something of value to a licensee in a different tier of our alcohol system. SB 5394 does the following:

  1. Modernizes state law so a brewery, winery, distiller or distributor may use their websites and social media accounts for online promotion of events held at another retailer’s licensed premise. Ex: brewer nights and tap takeovers, winemaker dinners, distiller nights and special occasion licensed events (non-profit charity events) taking place at a location other than a brewery, winery or distiller’s own premise
  2. Allows manufacturers and distributors to link to ticket sales for events held by a retailer of their product, including events benefiting non-profits
  3. Prohibits paid boosts of posts to provide consistency with laws against paid advertising for a retailer

HB 1563: Concerning liquor-related privileges of students enrolled in certain degree programs

Our Class 15 permit (known as taste and spit) exists to allow 18-20-year-old students in our higher education viticulture and enology programs to experience the diversity and complexity of wine through a highly regulated taste-and-spit experience. Those higher education institutions utilizing the Class 15 permit have proven themselves responsible in the use of this privilege and have reached a place where improving the permit can be done in the right way to take our accredited grape growing and winemaking programs to a higher level. HB 1563 improves the Class 15 permit in two important ways:

  1. The bill specifies that under the existing Class 15 permit, the enrolled student may taste the alcoholic beverages either: (1) On the premises of the college or university at which the student is enrolled; or (2) While on a field trip to a grape-growing area or production facility so long as the enrolled student is accompanied by a faculty or staff member with a class 12 or 13 alcohol server permit who supervises and all other requirements that normally apply to the Class 15 permit tastings are met.
  2. The bill provides that licensees holding a domestic winery license may allow interns who are between the ages of 18 and 21 years old to engage in wine-production related work at the domestic winery’s licensed location, so long as the volunteer is enrolled as a student at a community or technical college, regional university, or state university with a Class 15 permit, and in a required or elective class as part of a degree program identified in the Class 15 permit authorizing statute.

HB 1672: Recorking of wine by a winery or tasting room

HB 1672 simply allows wineries to recork wine-to-go purchased by a customer at both the winery and tasting room locations. Wineries have been doing this for years as a safety and consumer-friendly option, and we are glad to see it going into law within our domestic winery license allowances.

2018

Taxes/Regulation

WWI successfully protected our industry from any new taxes or regulations being placed on the industry during the 2018 Legislative Session.

Delivered to the Governor

HB 2517: Concerning Penalties for Alcohol Manufacturers Who Have Committed Violations as Part of Their Ancillary Activities
HB 2517 protects every winery’s business model by separating any violations that happen in the retail side of the winery from the wholesale and manufacturing activities. The new law redefines retailing activities where manufacturers are interfacing with the public as “ancillary activities,” charges the Liquor & Cannabis Board with adopting a penalty schedule for violations incurred while performing ancillary activities, makes it clear that these penalties may not include the suspension or revocation of the winery license and thereby allows the winery to continue shipping and manufacturing wine in the event of a violation from a retail transaction.

HB 2699: Exempting Alcohol Manufacturers from the Food Storage Warehouse License
HB 2699 exempts alcohol manufacturers and distributers licensed under RCW 66.24 from the WSDA issued food storage warehouse license, removes a $200 annual cost on any winery storing wine offsite that is agreed between WSDA and the industry to not be necessary, and states that the exemption only applies if alcohol is the only product being stored in the warehouse.

SB 5251: Reigniting Statewide Tourism Marketing and Promotion
Until 2018, Washington State was the only state in the nation without a statewide tourism marketing effort. A large and passionate coalition of impacted industries, including WA wine, pushed for the past seven years to create a new approach that would stay in place when future state budget cuts take place (which is how we lost our first state tourism office in 2011). We are proud to be part of helping get SB 5251 to the Governor’s desk this year. The bill creates a private/public partnership that will reignite our statewide tourism marketing, installs a funding mechanism of a 2-to-1 private-to-public match, creates a new board of directors to collectively lead on Washington State’s tourism marketing decisions, and finally (and importantly for our industry) the bill has specific language that requires this new board to focus tourism marketing on rural economies, where many of our wineries are located.

2017

Taxes/Regulation

WWI successfully protected our industry from any new taxes or regulations being placed on the industry during the 2017 Legislative Session

Delivered to the Governor

SB 1718 – Nonprofit Private Auction Permit
Creates a new permit allowing for nonprofits to host private wine auctions where Washington wine may be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Retailers, private collectors, and individuals from around the country are examples of those who may participate in the auction. Wine that is part of the auction may be sampled by attendees. This bill is a huge help to all of our regional wine associations, The Auction of Washington Wines, and other nonprofits who have struggled in past years with an intense amount of paperwork required with the past approach to hosting these events.

HB 1038 – Increasing the number of remote tasting room locations per domestic winery license
Increases the number of allowed remote retail tasting room locations (outside of the winery location) for a domestic winery licensee from 2 to 4 locations.

2016

Taxes/Regulation

WWI successfully protected our industry from any new taxes or regulations being placed on the industry during the 2016 Legislative Session

Delivered to the Governor

SB 6470 – Modifying special occasion license permits, allowing sales of private collections of wine
Creates in state statute the allowance for wineries to take orders and collect payment while participating in special occasion licensed events (charity/nonprofits). SB 6470 also legalizes the ability for an individual to sell a collection of wine to another individual or licensed retailer (if that retailer’s licensed allows such a purchase).

HB 1763- Regulating music licensing companies
Provides a new level of transparency and appropriate business practices/behavior for music licensing companies (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC) and agents working on behalf of the licensing company.

2015

Delivered to Governor:

ESSB 5596- Winery off premise private event permit (WWI legislation)
Establishes a new permit for wineries that will allow for off-premise, private events where a winery may deliver previously sold wine, provide tastings of their wine, and sell wine for off premise consumption. The permit costs $10, must be applied for 10 days prior to the event, and is capped at 12 permits per winery each calendar year.

SB 6057 – B&O tax incentive extension for food processors (WWI Priority Legislation)
Extends a B&O tax incentive till 2025 for food processors’ (wine among others) sales made outside of Washington State.

HB 1004 – Allowing wine tastings by students
Allows for student tasting of wine 18-21 years old at state and regional universities (joining community and technical colleges) that are in a viticulture or enology program. Students in a sommelier or wine business class that are 18 years and older are also authorized to taste wine under this new privilege.

SHB 1124 – Providing samples of wine or beer for on premise licensees
Allows on premise licensees (ex: restaurant) to provide a free, 2 oz sample (not to exceed 6 oz total) of wine or beer when requested by a patron 21+ years old.

2014

Delivered to Governor:

SHB 1742- Growlers of wine
Allowed a domestic wineries to sell wines of their own production at their winery or tasting room in sanitary containers (growlers) filled at the tap by the seller.

ESHB 2680-Caterer’s License
Established a new caterer’s license that allows the holder of the license to take orders for, serve and sell spirits, wine and/or beer in any part of the licensed premise, if the event location does not already have a permit to sell liquor. There is an annual license fee of $200 for wine, $200 for beer or $1,000 for wine, beer and spirits.

ESSB 5045-Wine or Beer in Day Spas
Created a permit that would allow a day spa to serve one glass of wine or one beer, free of charge. Defined day spa as a business that offers at least three of four types of services: hair care, nail care, skin care and body care. The fee for the permit is $125 per year.

SB 5310- Senior Center License
Created a liquor license for nonprofit senior centers to sell spirits, beer and wine at retail for on premise consumption. The fee for the license is $250.

2013

Here are the priority bills that passed the 2013 Legislative Session and were signed by the Governor:

  • Senate Bill 5674 – Expanded the Farmer’s Market Wine/Beer Sampling Program
  • Senate Bill 5774 – Authorized students under the age of 21 to “taste” wine in Community College (2 year) viticulture and enology programs
  • Senate Bill 5517 – Removed the 50% requirement for grocery sales for a wine and beer tasting endorsement
  • Senate Bill 5607 – Created a beer, wine and spirits theater license, allowing certain small theaters to serve alcohol
  • House Bill 1001 – Created a wine and beer theater license for theaters with up to four screens.

2012

B&O Tax Credit for out-of-state sales

WWI worked hard to extend a fruit and vegetable manufacturing tax exemption that was set to expire July 1, 2012. Wineries currently receive this business and occupation tax exemption for out-of-state (export) sales. If the exemption had expired on July 1, many wineries would have seen an increase on the cost of exporting wine out of state. Wineries looking to expand production and enter new markets outside of Washington would have lost a valuable tool in that effort.

Capital Budget Request: $5 Million for Wine Science Center

WWI worked with our colleagues at the Port of Benton, City of Richland, and WSU on a $5 million capital budget request for the Wine Science Center. The effort was successful and this funding moves the Wine Science Center into the next phase of construction.

2011

SB 5788 “Omnibus Stakeholder Bill”

SB 5788 contained WWI language that:

  • allowed you to pay a reasonable booth fee to the charitable organization hosting the event for their coordinating services.
  • helped to alleviate the headaches associated with payment for your wine at the event.
  • instead of dealing with the now commonplace “check swap”, the charity is now able to pay you for your wine sold at the close of the event.
  • resolved an issue with Agents Licenses by making it clear in the law that wineries and their employees do not need an Agents License to sell their own wine.
  • helped WAWGG and other industry trade shows by adding a provision that will allow barrel vendors and other liquor related vendors to provide wine, beer or liquor samples at trade events for better analysis of their products.

SB 5173/HB 1227 “Corkage Fees”

HB 1227 and SB 5173 allowed wineries and restaurants to participate together in corkage waiving programs to promote local tourism. This legislation came about from a liquor board enforcement action that put a stop to the popular “Corkage Free Zone” in Yakima.

HB 1172/ SB 5029 “Farmer’s Markets Wine Tasting

The bill established a pilot program for beer and wine tastings at farmer’s markets.

Just a note of thanks for all the hard work you're putting in. Gathering our feedback and getting that in front of the powers-that-be, helping get these webinars organized and out there -- it's all been helpful and is truly appreciated. I feel like we've already gotten more bang for our buck from WWI membership than from any other industry group. I'm telling all of my winery friends that if they're not WWI members yet, they really ought to be.

Jay Krutulis Owner / Winemaker Prospice Wines

The $4.8 billion Washington wine industry is a tremendous bright spot on Washington State's economy. As this exciting and dynamic industry continues to grow, the Legislature will continue to deal with critical issues that will impact wineries across the state. It's crucial that winery voices are heard in Olympia and I know I can count on WWI, the industry's leading advocate, as a source of clear, accurate information when making policy that will shape market conditions for wine in our State.

Representative Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House

The Washington wine industry is growing at an incredible pace and, if the continuous opening of new wineries in my district is any indication, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. It’s imperative all the wineries in my district and across Washington have a strong, united voice. The Washington Wine Institute is that voice and an extremely effective advocate for all Washington wineries.

Senator Sharon Brown, State Senator, 8th LD

It's great to know that WWI is watching out for my interests in Olympia. I've been a member for years and consider their work essential to maintaining a friendly business climate for wine sales in Washington.

Kay Simon, Chinook Winery

The Washington Wine Institute is working on behalf of all of us, regardless of size. As small as Betz Family Winery is, we choose to support WWI because we know they have our best interest at heart and the skills to get things done in Olympia.

Bob Betz, Betz Family Winery