March 27, 2023 - WWI News
On March 15, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) approved a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR 101) to consider allowing Class 13 MAST permit holders, in areas not restricted to minors, to open and pour wine and beer from bottles or cans away from the table. This would entail amending WAC 314-17-015 and repealing, amending and creating rule sections in Title 314 WAC, or both as necessary.
The Washington Wine Institute requested this rulemaking after the MAST 13 permit additional allowances expired when pandemic regulations for operations ended in September of 2022. Click the links below to learn more or to submit a public comment to the LCB by April 17.
March 23, 2023 - WWI News
The Washington Hospitality Grant Program – brought to you by the Washington State Department of Commerce – is now accepting applications.
This program offers one-time grants to eligible restaurants, hotels, motels and other qualifying businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts.
The grant program is intended to support eligible small businesses that can demonstrate a 25% reduction in gross receipts or sales as a result of the pandemic. A portion of funding will be directed to reimburse lodging establishments that experienced loss during the state’s eviction moratorium.
About the Grant Program
Begin your application for a Washington Hospitality Grant!
Restaurants, bars, caterers, food trucks, bakeries, lodging businesses and other small hospitality organizations are eligible to apply for a one-time grant award. Use the application checklist to guide you through the application process and APPLY NOW.
March 10, 2023 - WWI News
The Department of Commerce has announced a Washington Hospitality grant program designed to provide qualifying businesses with COVID-19 relief is opening March 14. The Washington Wine Institute worked hard last session to secure the $85 million set aside in the budget for this grant.
This program offers one-time grants to eligible wineries, restaurants, hotels, and other qualifying businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts.
The grant program is intended to support eligible small businesses that can demonstrate a 25% reduction in revenues as a result of the pandemic. A portion of funding is designated to reimburse lodging establishments that experienced losses during the state’s eviction moratorium pursuant to the governor’s proclamations.
Find out if your company is eligible, register for the informational webinar, and subscribe for updates about the program at the link below.
March 10, 2023 - WWI News
One of the biggest cutoff dates of the session happened March 8th, when all bills must be voted out of their respective chambers to be still “alive” and worthy of further consideration.
For WWI priorities this session, we are excited to share that a few of our top priority legislative proposals continue to move through the process while other very concerning bills we worked hard to educate lawmakers on the harm they would cause and to not support them moving forward by the March 8th cutoff.
HB 1258, a 300% increase in dedicated tourism funding for Washington State, passed the House 96-0.
SB 5448, our alcohol-to-go and outdoor seating modernization permanence bill, passed the Senate Wednesday afternoon (and just before the 5 PM cutoff deadline) by a vote of 38-10.
SB 5002, the .05 BAC bill, failed to receive a vote by the full Senate and for now appears to be no longer a consideration for this session.
Finally, HB 1131 a very long and comprehensive bill overhauling our waste management and recycling system died in the House Chamber.
December 16, 2022 - WWI News
The Washington Wine Specialty License Plate has been finalized, and is now available for order through the Washington State Department of Licensing.
The Washington Wine Institute, in partnership with the Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC), worked with prime sponsor Rep. Kelly Chambers and lawmakers in Olympia to pass this legislation. Revenue generated from this license plate will go to State of Washington Tourism.
“We are honored to have helped pass this legislation, and excited to see thousands of Washington wine supporters showing their love of our industry through this license plate,” said Josh McDonald, Executive Director of the Washington Wine Institute. “And, revenue goes directly to tourism, which is a critical investment towards our industry’s future success.”
The Washington wine industry accounts for $8B of in-state economic impact including nearly 42,000 related jobs. In 2021, an estimated 2 million people visited wineries across the state.
Read more at WSWC website.
November 11, 2022 - WWI News
As Washington State’s pandemic order was lifted as of September 30, 2022, temporary allowances for wineries that were in place have now expired. One we know of significant importance to our members was:
- The MAST 13 permit which allowed 18-20-year-olds to pre-pour samples, flights, and glasses of wine or beer for customers away from the customer’s table instead of having to pour wine or beer at the customer’s table. A person 21 years or older must be on duty supervising the sale. Washington Wine Institute is working with the LCB on rulemaking to make these changes permanent based on feedback from WWI members being favorable towards these allowances.
Curbside and home delivery is still allowed after the passage of HB 1480 in 2021 that created three-year temporary allowances for to-go sales from the tasting room, curbside service, and home delivery sales were allowed to continue.
COVID 19 Basic Requirements for All Workplaces
The Washington Wine Institute has partnered with the Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I) agency for 2022-2023 to provide our members, and at certain times, the whole WA wine industry with educational opportunities and consistent communications on our state’s laws and rules around wages, labor practices, workplace safety, and all the elements of running a business that is regulated by L&I.
Today, we bring you a reminder of what L&I requires of all employers related to COVID-19.
At a minimum, all employers must do the following:
- Keep workers known or suspected to have COVID-19 from working around others by following appropriate isolation guidance as outlined by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).
- Provide hand washing facilities and supplies, and regularly clean and sanitize surfaces.
- Educate workers about COVID-19 prevention in the language they understand best.
- Provide written notice of potential COVID-19 exposure within one business day to all workers, and the employers of subcontracted workers, who were at the same work site as a person who tested positive (without disclosing the person’s identity).
- Report COVID-19 outbreaks to L&I within one business day when they involve 10 or more workers at a workplace or job site with more than 50 workers.
- Address COVID-19 notification, reporting, and prevention measures in the employer’s workplace-specific, written Accident Prevention Program or equivalent safety program.
- Allow workers to voluntarily wear masks (respirators, medical procedure masks, or cloth face coverings) and personal protective equipment (PPE) as long as it doesn’t create a safety or security issue.
Where masks are still required:
- In health care settings, including long-term care settings (home/hospice) and correctional facilities.
- The healthcare mask sign is also available in Russian, Spanish & Vietnamese.
Nothing Changes and WWI is Prepared to Push Back
This past week some of our members may have seen news articles covering a recent DTC wine shipping proposal that is coming from a non-profit group called the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). Below is an update on this work by our colleagues at WineAmerica, who work every day to watch our back within the halls of Congress as well as anything political or regulatory that impacts American wineries. If you are not a WineAmerica member yet, we strongly encourage you to join and help strengthen their efforts in Washington D.C. As stated well below, the work done in tracking this issue, removing the worst parts of the proposal if adopted, and now preparing to defend DTC in our state capital (and all 47 state capitals where winery DTC shipping is allowed) is an excellent example of the value you receive as a WWI member as well as being part of WineAmerica. Make no mistake, as we have done many times in the past, we WILL be ready if any attempts are made to threaten our DTC wine shipping privileges during the 2023 legislative session and beyond.
The Uniform Law Commission is a non-profit group of lawyers from around the country who draft and develop laws for state legislatures to adopt. The idea is that standardized laws are better for states in order to avoid confusion. Approximately three years ago they started looking into DTC shipping of beer and spirits, but that morphed to looking primarily at existing wine DTC laws. This was done without any real input from the wine industry. We must stress that this is only a model law. It does not change any state laws regarding DTC shipping as it has not been introduced in any state legislature. However, the ULC does recommend that states should adopt this legislation.
We must stress that this is merely a proposal that was approved by the ULC. No state laws have changed, but we need to be vigilant as an industry to make sure that our hard won DTC rights are not rolled back. This is a great example of the value of winery trade associations on both state and national levels, as well as the value of WineAmerica.
The new WA Wine specialty license plate goes into effect November 1, 2022, so set your calendars for 11/1/22 to put your request in for a new license plate honoring our state’s wine industry. We want to thank the incredible energy and hard work of our prime sponsor Rep. Chambers, our friends in the tourism industry pushing alongside us to get the bill done, and every WWI member and WA winery that signed the petition, sent requests out to their wine clubs and colleagues to sign the petition, those that signed in with support on the bill throughout the legislative process, and all other efforts that got HB 1530 to the finish line this year.
The WA State Department of Health recently updated the Food Code, which includes updates for dogs in food establishments including domestic winery licenses (wineries) and outdoors at food establishments (beer/wine restaurant license). Here’s a quick overview of the changes:
Outdoor eating areas
Restaurants that allow dogs in the outdoor serving area need to:
- Submit a plan to their local health department and get approval in advance.
- The dogs must go directly to outdoor area.
- The outdoor area that allows dogs can’t be used for food or drink preparation.
- No service ware storage or dish washing is allowed in the outdoor area.
The Legislature passed a law with new rules for establishments like winery tasting rooms that don’t have food production and have a limited food selection. For these establishments:
- A pre-approved plan is not required.
- Signage is required saying dogs are allowed inside.
- You must provide notice to your local health department.
Our friends at the WA Hospitality Association partnered with the Dept of Health to put together this short video explaining the changes.