Category: WWI News

Vino For Vaccines Incentive Program

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, in partnership with Governor Inslee’s office, state, and local health officials, created a very temporary COVID alcohol incentive allowance to support the on-going public health COVID-19 vaccination effort! Through June 30th, WA wineries, breweries, restaurants, and other liquor licensees can voluntarily choose to participate by hosting a vaccination clinic at your winery and/or satellite tasting rooms or by providing a purchased alcohol-based incentive for a customer who can show proof they received a COVID vaccine shot between May 15-June 30. This is a completely voluntary incentive-based effort to get more vaccines in arms so our state can fully reopen once we hit 70% of eligible WA residents have at least one vaccine dose administered.

Host a pop-up vaccination clinic at your winery and/or satellite tasting room(s)

We can help you partner with your local health department to schedule a pop-up vaccination event at your winery and/or tasting rooms in June. Please note, pop-up clinics will be dependent on local health capacity and they may not be able to accommodate all requests. Complete the form via this link to register and we will be in touch soon to help you get all you need to successfully host a pop up vaccine site at the winery or tasting room(s).

Wineries who would like to provide some incentive between now and June 30 but are not able to host a vaccine site, please email us at josh@wwi.wine with a good contact name and we will be available to help assist your team with any help, questions, or other to feel confident as you participate in this vaccination effort. Again, this entire effort is completely voluntary. The goal is to promote vaccinations and responsible wine tasting experiences so our state can fully reopen.

Compliance

The Liquor & Cannabis Board has adopted a temporary advisement to make compliance for this event supporting public health easier. On-premises liquor establishments may offer one alcoholic beverage at no cost to customers with proof of vaccination under the following conditions:

  1. The customer provides proof to their server that they were vaccinated (first or second vaccination) between May 15, and June 30, 2021 (licensees may choose a window of time between the vaccination date and when the drink can be redeemed, as long as the vaccination was completed within the allowed time period);
  2. Customers are limited to one drink;
  3. The liquor establishment can provide the drink, or a non-industry member sponsor may pay for the drink;
  4. The drink and taxes are paid for at cost of production by the licensee or a non-industry sponsor; and
  5. Advertisements and public information provided by licensees related to drink with vaccination promotions may not contain the words “free” or “complimentary” but may indicate a drink will be purchased on the customer’s behalf with proof of vaccination.

This allowance will expire July 1, 2021. For additional questions, please contact LCB Customer Service at (360) 664-1600, or your enforcement officer.

 

Governor Inslee Announces A Plan Towards A Full Reopening

Governor Inslee announced a plan to move forward in his Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan.

On Tuesday, May 18, all counties moved or stayed in Phase 3, which allows indoor service at 50% capacity and a limit of 10 people per table.

In addition, the Governor announced the new strategy for reopening will be focused on vaccination rates. He expects the state will entirely reopen on June 30, or sooner if 70% of eligible Washington residents receive at least their first vaccine. As soon as this happens, COVID restrictions on most industries – including eating and drinking establishments – will be lifted.

Mask Guidelines
The Governor also announced that Washington will adopt the CDC’s new federal guidelines for masks. This new guidance is for fully vaccinated people, meaning people who are two weeks removed from their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The state will work with the Department of Health and Labor & Industries to update our guidance documents as soon as possible.

…..effective immediately with the exception of Seattle/King County,

  1. Businesses are not required to enforce masking for non-vaccinated patrons. This is consistent with our current mask order
  2. Businesses are not required to check vax cards or any other proof of vaccination
  3. Businesses may still adopt a policy that masks are required for all patrons and a policy to check for proof of vaccination

Be Confident, Be Compliant Webinar

Thursday June 17, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

This webinar is free for Washington Wine Institute or Washington Winegrowers members, $40 for non-members

Join the Washington Wine Institute and Washington Winegrowers Association for the WSLCB and TTB webinar for WA Wineries. The webinar will take place on Thursday, June 17th, from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM.

The Washington Wine Institute and Washington Winegrowers are partnering to make both Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulatory experts accessible to you. This webinar will break down top compliance issues with the goal of making lawful operations easier to understand and implement!  We’ll also review beneficial policies each agency has recently implemented.  And, you can submit your anonymous questions in advance!  Submit your questions at time of registration or send them to josh@wwi.wine or sara@wawinegrowers.org.

Registration Details
Members of WWI or Winegrowers: FREE
Non-Members: $40

REGISTER HERE

Speakers and Topics

  1. Director of Licensing Rebecca Smith, Director of Enforcement Chandra Brady, Customer Service Manager Beth Lehman, and Policy and Rules Coordinator Audrey Vasek will join us to review the impacts of 2021 legislative session, new licenses, permits, and endorsements, new rules in effect, COVID guidance, and common enforcement issues
  2. Erin Hogarty, TTB Investigator, will cover include common compliance issues relating to product integrity investigations, taxes, and labeling. She will also discuss key provisions of the Craft Beverage Modernization Tax Reform Act, which are now permanent.

If you are a Winegrowers member, please login with your membership credentials.

If you are a Washington Wine Institute member, please contact Josh McDonald, josh@wwi.wine, directly for your promo code. If you are not a Washington Wine Institute member and would like to sign up, doing so is easy and can be done by clicking here!

WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant

Only 3 days left to apply!  Money is still available.  Deadline to apply is Monday April 26th at 5pm!

Don’t wait apply today!

Grant Opportunity for Wineries/Cideries/Mead

APPLY HERE

 

The WA State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) COVD Relief and Recovery grant application portal is now live for wineries/cideries/mead operations! WSDA is partnering with the WA State Department of Commerce to provide Relief and Recovery Grants for agriculture businesses that have been underserved by earlier COVID-19 financial relief programs.

Background

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants will provide support to small businesses and organizations in four sectors, including small craft beverage producers, that play an important role in the economic viability of Washington agriculture and have been economically impacted due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This grant serves the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

Application Timeline & Grant Amounts

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application portal is open now and expected to close on April 26th. Grant awards and payments will be made by the end of May.

Grant amounts will be in a set amount of approximately $15,000 (WSDA reserves the right to adjust grant amounts based on available funds). All applications submitted between April 9 and April 26 will be considered.

Eligibility

To learn the eligibility requirements and begin the process of applying, visit the WSDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants page.

The WA Wine Institute is available to you to provide education and assistance to grant applicants. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about either grant programs or if you need assistance with your WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application.

 

Contacts:

Josh McDonald

josh@wwi.wine

CT Moen

ct@wwi.wine

 

Stay Safe

WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant For Craft Beverage Producers

Apply Now through April 26th!

Grant Opportunity for Wineries/Cideries/Mead

APPLY HERE

The WA State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) COVD Relief and Recovery grant application portal is now live for wineries/cideries/mead operations! WSDA is partnering with the WA State Department of Commerce to provide Relief and Recovery Grants for agriculture businesses that have been underserved by earlier COVID-19 financial relief programs.

Background

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants will provide support to small businesses and organizations in four sectors, including small craft beverage producers, that play an important role in the economic viability of Washington agriculture and have been economically impacted due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This grant serves the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

Application Timeline & Grant Amounts

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application portal is open now and expected to close on April 26th. Grant awards and payments will be made by the end of May.

Grant amounts will be in a set amount of approximately $15,000 (WSDA reserves the right to adjust grant amounts based on available funds). All applications submitted between April 9 and April 26 will be considered.

Eligibility

To learn the eligibility requirements and begin the process of applying, visit the WSDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants page.

The WA Wine Institute is available to you to provide education and assistance to grant applicants. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about either grant programs or if you need assistance with your WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application.

Contacts:

Josh McDonald

josh@wwi.wine

CT Moen

ct@wwi.wine

Stay Safe

Relief and Recovery Grants are available from WSDA

Relief and Recovery Grants are available from WSDA for:

  1. Shellfish growers
  2. Farmers Market Organizations
  3. Agritourism Farms
  4. Small Breweries, Wineries, Cideries, and Distilleries

Applications open April 9 and close April 26.  It’s quick – don’t miss it!

Learn more about these grants and whether you qualify on the WSDA Relief and Recovery grants webpage.

The nearly $15 million in grants are available through a partnership between WSDA and the Washington State Department of Commerce with the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

WSDA has contracted with partners in each sector who are available to answer questions and assist those seeking the grants. The contact information is available under the “Questions” section on the webpage.

Washington State Department of Agriculture |  PO Box 42560  |  Olympia, WA 98504-2560

 

WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants For Craft Beverage Producers Coming Soon

Grant Opportunity for Wineries/Cideries/Mead

Grants through the WA State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) will soon be available for wineries/cideries/mead operations! WSDA is partnering with the WA State Department of Commerce to provide Relief and Recovery Grants for agriculture businesses that have been underserved by earlier COVID-19 financial relief programs.

Background

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants will provide support to small businesses and organizations in four sectors, including small craft beverage producers, that play an important role in the economic viability of Washington agriculture and have been economically impacted due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This grant serves the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

Application Timeline & Grant Amounts

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application portal is expected to open on April 9th and expected to close on April 26th. Grant awards and payments will be made by the end of May.

Grant amounts will be in a set amount of approximately $15,000 (WSDA reserves the right to adjust grant amounts based on available funds).

Eligibility

To be eligible, businesses must:

  1. Be licensed to do business in Washington
  2. Have been in operation prior to April 1, 2020
  3. Attest to gross annual revenues of between $15,000 and $5 million
  4. Hold a Microbrewery, Domestic Brewery, Domestic Winery (includes cideries), Craft Distillery, or Distillers license issued by the Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board
  5. Operate from a physical brick and mortar location in Washington State
  6. Normally generate at least 33% its gross annual revenue from in-person sales in its own establishment and/or through distribution to other on-premise retailers
  7. Attest to decreased revenue and/or additional costs incurred in 2020 (negative financial impact) resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency

For more information, visit the WSDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants page, which will be updated as more info becomes available.

Working Washington Round 4 Grants

Important note: your business may be eligible for both the Department of Commerce’s Working Washington Round 4 grant and the WSDA Relief and Recovery grant. However, your business can only accept one of the two grants and may not receive funding from both programs. Here are some factors to consider when looking at both grants:

  1. Working Washington Round 4 Grants are capped at $25,000. If you received funding through an earlier round of Working Washington grants (through the Department of Commerce) that amount will be deducted from any Round 4 any funding received
  2. Working Washington Round 4 Grants must be equitably distributed statewide and to historically underserved and disadvantaged populations. Minority and women owned businesses and businesses located in rural and low income areas will be prioritized for this funding

While you may apply for both grants, your business can only receive one. The Working Washington Round 4 Grants application portal is open now through April 9th at 5pm. If you are unsure which grant will better serve your business, we encourage you to apply for both.

The WA Wine Institute is here to help! We are working on behalf of the WSDA to provide education and assistance to grant applicants. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about either grant programs or if you need assistance with your WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application.

Contacts:

Josh McDonald

josh@wwi.wine

CT Moen

ct@wwi.wine

COVID-19 State Small Business Assistance Grants

Two Grant Opportunities for WA Small Wineries

Washington wineries will soon have an option between two small business grant opportunities available through the State’s on-going effort to provide assistance to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Wineries may be eligible for a grant through the WA Department of Commerce’s “Working Washington” small business grant program OR through upcoming grants that will be made available through the WA Department of Agriculture, targeted at the WA small craft beverage producer sectors.

The portal for Working Washington grant applications is now open and the grant application portal for the Department of Ag small craft beverage producer grants will open in the next two weeks. While wineries may meet eligibility requirements for both grant programs, businesses may receive only one of the two grant types available.

Over the next couple weeks, WWI will be providing information and assistance to help you determine which grant might better serve your business.

In the meantime, we encourage you to read through the eligibility and application requirements for the “Working Washington” grants found here. The Working Washington grant application portal (via the Department of Commerce) will close on April 9th. All applications received within that open period will be considered.

The Department of Ag COVID-19 Recovery Grant website will be updated with eligibility criteria and application requirements for winery, cidery, brewery, and distillery businesses soon.

We truly appreciate the Legislature’s and the Governor’s allocations of funding for small business grants through the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture; and the State’s recognition that craft beverage producers contribute to the health and diversity of the Washington state economy by providing support to disproportionately impacted and previously underserved agricultural sectors, through these new grants for small craft beverage producers.

Please keep an eye out for more info, coming soon!

 

 

Washington State Wine Commission Board Positions

Open Positions on the Washington State Wine Commission – Letters of Interest Due April 23

Attention:  Washington State Wine Industry

The Washington State Wine Commission was created by the Washington State Legislature in 1987 to promote the growth of the wine industry. Its mission is to raise awareness and demand for Washington State wine through marketing and education, while supporting viticulture and enology research to drive industry growth.

The Commission was constituted under the Washington State Department of Agriculture and is governed by an appointed board of commissioners.

The Commission board is composed of twelve voting members and one non-voting member; five voting members shall be growers, five voting members shall be wine producers, one voting member shall represent the director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture and one voting member shall be a wine distributor.  The non-voting member is a producer of non-vinifera fruit wine. Members serve three-year terms.

On June 30th the terms of four members of the Wine Commission board will expire: two producer and two growers. Candidates must meet qualification requirements as outlined below.

Appointments [RCW 15.88.050(1)]:

The director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture shall appoint the members of the commission. In making such appointments, the director shall take into consideration recommendations made by the growers’ association and the wine institute as the persons recommended for appointment as members of the commission. The director usually makes appointment selections in early May for a July 1, 2021 start to the 3-year term.

Positions expiring on June 30th are currently occupied by:

  1. Position #3 – Producer— Shylah Alfonso: Shylah will seek another term.
  2. Position #5 – Producer—Steve Griessel: Steve will seek another term.
  3. Position #8 – Grower—Sadie Drury: Sadie will seek another term.
  4. Position #10 – Grower —Brenton Roy: Brenton will not seek another term.

In accordance with RCW 15.88.030(1), the board seats mush be filled with candidates who meet the Mandatory Qualifications listed below. Additional requirements are as follows:

  1. The two producer positions (#3 & #5) have no additional requirements.
  2. The grower positions (#8 & #10) have no additional acreage requirements but must be filled by wine grape growers who do not produce and sell their own wine.

Pursuant to RCW 15.88.050, the Washington Winegrowers Association sends grower recommendations and the Washington Wine Institute sends wine producer and distributor recommendations to the Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture for appointment consideration. The Director usually communicates appointments in May for a July 1, 2020 start to the 3-year term.

If you are an interested, qualifying wine producer, please submit your letter of interest and biographical information to WWI’s Executive Director, Josh McDonald, at josh@wwi.wine.

If you are an interested, qualifying grower, please submit your letter of interest and biographical information to the Washington Winegrowers Association Executive Director, Vicky Scharlau, at vicky@wawinegrowers.org

Candidates will be interviewed by the Association responsible for each open seat (reflected above) and recommendations made to the Director of Agriculture.

Commissioner Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Active involvement in commissioner board meetings through regular attendance and engagement in discussions with meetings
  2. Represent and speak for the broader interest of the industry, not that of one’s own business nor that of any particular subset of the industry
  3. Have a clear understanding of the mission and be able to articulate its purpose and structure to the industry and general public
  4. Serve as an Ambassador for the Commission, educating the broader constituency about the Commission’s strategic direction and programming
  5. Be knowledgeable about industry trends
  6. Be available to serve on committees and attend Commission-sponsored event
  7. Be knowledgeable about state agency governance rules and regulations, i.e. Open Public Meetings Act, State Ethics laws, wine and grape assessment process, etc.
  8. Lead with intention, inclusiveness and equity.
  9. Have a desire and openness to learn and adapt to new ways of thinking as the wine industry grows.

Mandatory Qualifications [RCW 15.88.030(4)]:

Each member of the Commission must be a citizen and resident of the state and over the age of twenty-one years.  Each member must be engaged in that phase of the growing or wine producing industry that he or she is appointed to represent, and during his or her term of office must derive a substantial portion of income from, or have a substantial investment in the growing of vinifera grapes or the production of wine from vinifera grapes as an owner, lessee, partner, or a stockholder owning at least 10% of the voting stock in a corporation engaged in the growing of vinifera grapes or wine production from vinifera grapes; or the manager or executive officer of such a corporation.  These qualifications apply throughout each member’s term of office.

Desired qualifications:

  1. Strong grasp of marketing principles and tactics
  2. Strong understanding of the various wine marketing channels, including trade, media, distribution, and the consumer
  3. Collegial and collaborative approach to decision making and problem solving
  4. Strong leadership and management skills
  5. Strong communication skills
  6. Solid understanding of, a strong belief in the importance of, V&E research
  7. Global perspective of the wine business
  8. Extensive contacts and relationships throughout the industry and in the broader community (both within Washington and beyond)
  9. Strong record of participation or involvement in industry activities
  10. High level of integrity

Current Board of Commissioners includes:

  1. Steve Griessel, Betz Family Winery (winery)
  2. John Sportelli, Columbia Winery (winery)
  3. Casey McClellan, Seven Hills Winery (winery and grower)
  4. Brenton Roy, Oasis Farms (grower)
  5. Dan Werth, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (winery)
  6. Sadie Drury, North Slope Management (grower)
  7. Dick Boushey, Boushey Vineyards (grower)
  8. Ryan Lumaco, Southern Glazer Wine and Spirits (wine distributor)
  9. Serena Roberge Gordon, Fletcher Bay Winery (non-vinifera producer
  10. Shylah Alfonso, Pomum Winery (winery)
  11. Rachel Horn, Aniche Cellars (winery)
  12. Lacey Lybecker, Cairdeas Winery (grower)
  13. Rianne Perry, Washington State Department of Ag (WSDA rep.)

Phase 3 begins on March 22 for the entire state

On March 11th, the Governor announced that on Monday, March 22, the entire state will move to Phase 3 of his Healthy Washington reopening plan.

 

During Phase 3, wineries and tasting rooms are permitted to offer on premise service at 50% capacity. Physical distancing and masking protocols must still be enforced. Additionally, alcohol service must end at midnight, and there is still a minimal food requirement for indoor service (see below). Additional information including table size will be released next week, and we will share the full guidance as it becomes available. 

 

The 50% capacity allowance is for up to 400 people maximum. Larger venue events, including baseball games and other sports, are capped at 25% occupancy or up to 9,000 people, whichever is less

 

Healthy Washington Phase 3 Reopening Metrics

 

Under the updated plan, the metrics of counties, not regions, will be individually evaluated every three weeks. The evaluations will occur on Mondays with any possible changes taking effect Friday. Large and small counties will have different sets of criteria, as seen below. If any county fails one or more of the metrics below, that county will move down one phase.

 

 

Vaccine Eligibility Update

The Governor also announced a revised start date for all WA residents that fall into Phase 1B – Tier 2 of the vaccine rollout will now become eligible on Wednesday March 17.
As food processors and for those owning vineyards, some employees involved on the production and vineyards sides of the business will qualify for eligibility in Phase 1B – Tier 2. This includes employees engaged in activities that meet the following criteria:

  1. Congregate agriculture–specifically those who work and/or live in a congregate setting interacting with a high volume of co-workers (vs. animals) over extended periods of time (i.e., >3 hours in 24 hour day). Relevant roles are more likely to include crop selection, production and packaging vs. equipment maintenance
  2. Congregate food processing–specifically those who work and/or live in a congregate setting interacting with high volume of co-workers over extended periods of time (i.e.,>3 hours in 24 hour day).

The WA Department of Health has an online tool where you can check your vaccine eligibility. You can find the full framework for vaccine allocation and prioritization here.

Open Air Seating Guidance, Live Music, and Food Requirements

 

 Outdoor & Open Air Seating Requirements


This document outlines the guidance for Open Air and Outdoor Seating Requirements, as updated on January 19.
Live Music
The guidance for live music can be found
here. Dancing is prohibited except in a minimal and prescriptive fashion at weddings.

 Food/snacks Requirements
There is still a food/snacks requirement for indoor service, although it was updated on March 5. The
new guidance requires either minimal food/snacks service or an allowance for food to be brought in from a restaurant. Please note that no longer are both required.

 

COVID 19 Operations Best Practices

State leaders worked with Byron Marlow, Professor of Hospitality Management at WSU, to put together a comprehensive list of guidelines and suggested best practices for wineries. These best practices apply for both indoor and outdoor service. 

  1. Washington Winery COVID 19 Reopening Requirements Guidelines and Best Practices.
  2. Washington Winery COVID 19 Supplement Response Operations Checklist.
  3. Washington Winery COVID 19 Supplement Response Posters.
  4. Voluntary Customer Log Template