Category: WWI News

Growing Concern of TTB Closure during Potential Government Shutdown

As disagreement in Congress remains over federal government funding, there is growing concern the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) could face closure during a potential government shutdown as early as October 1, 2023. The Washington Wine Institute would like to remind Washington State wineries to prepare in the event Congress does not reach an agreement in time to avoid a full federal government shutdown.
To be extra cautious, WWI is urging wineries to file any mandatory applications for labels, permit amendments, export certificates and other TTB needs prior to September 30. Under a government shutdown, the TTB would be closed except for very limited activities related to the protection of life and property. For more information, click here to read Wine Institute‘s news alert.

WWI Working to Help Modernize Outdoor Seating Rules for Wineries

The Washington Wine Institute (WWI) submitted comments to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) recommending updates to outdoor seating allowances for wineries after SB 5448 was signed into law following the 2023 legislative session. WWI comments to the LCB, which is a part of the larger rulemaking effort taking place now to implement SB 5448, focuses on changes to WAC 314-03-205 that currently allows on-premise licensees to have access to demarcations instead of permanent barriers if seating is located in a public space. These include:

• Improvements and changes to the rules that will ensure all on premise licensees are clearly authorized to utilize more modern, barrier-free outdoor alcohol service.

• Simplifying the rules to allow for both privately and publicly owned spaces the use of demarcations instead of permanent barriers for outdoor service.

• Allowing for licensees to share outdoor areas with non-licensees, provided the non-licensee acknowledges they may be held equally responsible for any liquor law violations.

This rulemaking work is in the first phase of the LCB’s process, known as a CR 101, and we expect to work directly with their team on rule language up to the next step in the process (CR 102) when draft rule language is released for comment. We will keep our members informed on how this work is coming along and opportunities to provide comment on the draft rules when that window of time opens this fall.

Guidance on Cloud Storage for Required LCB-Related Business Records

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has determined best practices and requirements for cloud storage recordkeeping for all liquor, vapor, tobacco and cannabis licensees. On June 21, 2023, the LCB withdrew CR-101 (Preproposal Statement of Inquiry) WSR 23-04-027 that considered rulemaking to allow cloud storage recordkeeping. After further review, a determination was made that the rule filing was not necessary, and that formal guidance is more appropriate.

All licensees may use digital/electronic formats (i.e., cloud storage) to maintain records that are required to be kept on the licensed premises per Title 314 WAC; if the following requirements are met:

-Cloud storage recordkeeping must comply with all the applicable statutes and regulations related to retaining, maintaining, and preserving records on the licensed premises.

-Records must be easily accessible and immediately available at the request of the LCB.

-Inability to access or produce records at the time of request due to technical issues is not considered to be a mitigating circumstance. Technical issues include, but are not limited to: power outages, disruptions in internet service, or changes made to the cloud storage or point of sales system.








Best Practices:

-Keep duplicate records and frequently back up an external hard drive to prevent loss of, and ensure access to, required records.

-Use a consistent naming convention to organize records.

-Ensure at least one employee who has access to records is always on the licensed premises.







For questions, please email

WWI Engaged in MAST 13 Permits Rulemaking

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) is considering amending WAC 314-17-015 as necessary to allow Class 13 Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) permit holders, in areas not restricted to minors, to open and pour beer and wine from bottles or cans, away from the table in the same manner they are permitted to do so at the table. The Washington Wine Institute is engaged in the rulemaking process after submitting a petition in November 2022 to amend 314-17-015.

Preproposal Statement of Inquiry

Withdrawal of a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry

WAC 314-17-015

In conjunction with this rulemaking, the LCB is also considering creating new rule sections in Title 314 WAC as necessary to implement SSB 5448, chapter 279, Laws of 2023. SSB 5448 currently allows wine delivery and takeout privileges.

Notice of Pre-Proposal Statement of Inquiry


CR 101 filed as WSR 23-15-116 on July 19, 2023

LCB Rulemaking Activity Page

The LCB encourages your input about this rulemaking. Please send your comments to the LCB through mail, email, or fax by August 21, 2023. Proposed rules are anticipated to be filed on or after September 12, 2023, following collaborative rule development.

By mail

Rules Coordinator

Liquor and Cannabis Board

P.O. Box 43080

Olympia, WA 98504-3080

By email

By fax


Washington State Labor and Industries Education Minute

Updated heat protections for outdoor workers go into effect July 17, 2023

Washington is one of only a few states with heat protections for outdoor workers, having first put rules in place in 2008. This week, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) filed a formal update to those rules, expanding existing requirements to keep workers safe.

“Excessive heat is a real concern when it comes to worker safety. Heat-related illness can strike quickly, and in some cases, be deadly,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks. “Our climate is changing, and these updates to our state heat rules are a major step forward in protecting workers.”

The last two summers L&I enacted temporary emergency heat rules to supplement existing worker protections. These new permanent rules take effect July 17, and the requirements will be in place year-round. 

New protections involving shade, cool-down rest periods, and monitoring workers

The rules lower the temperature at which action is required to 80°F for most outdoor work. Temperature-based action levels apply to specific portions of the rule such as drinking water and shade, and include specifics on when and how much shade must be provided.

Workers must be allowed to take preventative cool-down periods as needed to prevent overheating. Employers must follow high-heat procedures that require close observation of workers and mandatory cool-down periods of 10 minutes every two hours when the temperature reaches 90°F, and 15 minutes every hour at 100°F.

The updated permanent rules also add requirements for acclimatization and exposure to high heat. Under these requirements, which address the need to adapt to working in the heat over time, employers must closely observe all workers during heat waves and any worker who is newly assigned to working in the heat or returning from an absence of up to 14 days.

Under the rules, employers must also update their outdoor heat exposure safety programs, and train workers and supervisors on the plan and the new requirements. L&I is developing model outdoor heat exposure safety programs and training materials to help employers implement these requirements.

“Outdoor workers can suffer serious health effects from the summer heat,” said Craig Blackwood, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “But, with water, shade, and rest among other protections, employers and workers can prevent the worst effects of heat exposure and reduce traumatic injuries like falls. These updates will require employers to be more proactive.”

To learn more about the updated outdoor heat exposure rules and learn ways to protect workers from heat-related illness, visit L&I’s Heat Smart web page.

2023 National Wine Policy Conference Recap

WineAmerica members from around the country united to carry our messages to over 70 legislative offices, helping us protect and enhance the business climate for the American wine industry.

WWI joined WineAmerica’s Board of Directors, state association leaders, and other key winery members in Washington, DC to bring the American wine industry’s voice to Congress on the week of May 9. Representatives from thirteen different states came to Washington to spread the word about the Farm Bill, USPS Shipping, Nutritional Labeling, Music Licensing, among our 2023 issues. More than 70 Congressional meetings were held, and the entire group met with the senior TTB leadership.

WineAmerica Board Members Ryan Pennington of Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marty Clubb of L’Ecole No. 41, Josh McDonald of Washington Wine Institute, Dustin Tobin of Precept Wines, Mary Reimers of Washington Winegrowers with Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-R), co-chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus. 

We are fortunate to have two Washington wine leaders in Marty Clubb and Ryan Pennington serving on WineAmerica’s Board, which works year-round to advocate for the American wine industry. Congress also needs to hear directly from the businesses they represent to better understand how their policies impact those businesses on a daily basis. WWI will continue communicating our Washington delegation on the needs of Washington wineries, and we encourage all our members to also reach out to their US Senators and the Congressperson representing and let them know we need their help.

Temporary Covid-Era Wine Home Delivery, Takeout, Outdoor Seating Allowances Extended

The Washington Wine Institute is excited to share that Governor Jay Inslee has signed SB 5448, which extends COVID-era allowances of cocktails to go for restaurants, wine home delivery, and takeout until July 1, 2025 for winery and wine restaurant licensees that have obtained the specific LCB endorsement. It also makes permanent the outdoor seating rules we accomplished in 2021modernizing our ability to offer on-premise, outdoor wine service.

We will be involved in another round of rulemaking to continue to modernize outdoor seating. If you have any ideas on how to further improve these rules, please let us know by emailing!

Washington State Wine Commission Board Positions

Open Positions on the Washington State Wine Commission – Letters of Interest For Producers and Distributor Seats Due April 28

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 drive growth of Washington State Wine through Marketing, Communication, and Viticulture & Enology Research.

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 12 voting members and one non-voting member who serve three-year terms:

  1. five voting members shall be growers
  2. five voting members shall be wine producers
  3. one voting member shall represent the director of the State Department of Agriculture
  4. one voting member shall be a wine distributor
  5. one non-voting member is a producer of non-vinifera fruit wine

On June 30th, 2023 the terms of four members of the Wine Commission board will expire: two producers and two growers. In addition, one board position is vacant and will be filled during this process. 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, 2023 start to the 3-year term.

Positions expiring on June 30th are currently occupied by:

  1. Position 1: Producer over 1M gallons
  2. Position 6: Small grower (less than 50 acres), who may also produce and sell wine
  3. Position 11: Wholesaler
  4. Position 12: Non-vinifera producer (non-voting seat) (this can be mead, fruit wines, cider above 8.5% abv)


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, 2023 start to the 3-year term.

If you are an interested, qualifying wine producer or distributor, please submit your letter of interest and biographical information by Friday, April 28th to WWI’s Executive Director, Josh McDonald, at

If you are an interested, qualifying grower, please submit your letter of interest and biographical information by Friday, April 14th to the Washington Winegrowers Association Executive Director, Vicky Scharlau, at

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

The ideal candidate will:

  1. Meet RCW 15.88.030(4) requirements here.
  2. Support the mission of the Wine Commission
  3. Willing and eagerly fulfill duties and responsibilities of a Commissioner (see below)
  4. Meet or exceed key qualifications (see below)

Potential candidates must meet the requirements, as outlined in the Commissioner Duties and Responsibilities and meet Mandatory Qualifications, both outlined below. Candidates will necessarily need to be supportive of the Vision of the Washington State Wine Commission and help to advance the Commission’s Mission; to raise awareness and demand for Washington State Wine through marketing and education while supporting viticulture and enology research to drive industry growth.

Commissioner Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Active involvement in commissioner board meetings and committee meetings through regular attendance and engagement in discussions. Serve on at least one committee (Marketing, Communications, Finance, Research) and participate in Commission events, activities and programs.
  2. Lead with intention, inclusiveness and equity.
  3. Represent and speak for the broad, diverse Washington wine industry, not for one’s own business nor any particular subset of the industry.
  4. Have a clear understanding of the mission of the organization and be able to articulate its purpose and structure to the industry and general public.
  5. Serve as an Ambassador for the Commission, educating the broader constituency about the Commission’s strategic direction and programming.
  6. Be available to serve on committees and participate in Commission events, activities and programs.
  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. 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. In-depth knowledge of viticulture and/or enology and/or the wine business at large. Global perspective of the wine business desired.
  2. A high level of integrity.
  3. A collegial and collaborative approach to decision making and problem solving.
  4. Strong leadership and management skills.
  5. Strong communication skills.
  6. Solid understanding of, and a strong belief in the importance of V&E research.
  7. A strong grasp of marketing principles and tactics.
  8. Strong understanding of the various wine marketing channels, including trade, media, distribution, and the consumer.
  9. Extensive contacts and relationships throughout the industry and in the broader community (both within Washington and beyond).
  10. A strong record of participation or involvement in industry activities

Current Board of Commissioners includes:

  1. John Ware, Rocky Pond Winery
  2. Todd Newhouse, Upland Vineyards
  3. Ryan Pennington, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  4. Sadie Drury, North Slope Management
  5. Dick Boushey, Boushey Vineyards
  6. Anna Mosier, House of Smith
  7. Kade Casciato, Ciel du Cheval
  8. Shylah Alfonso, Pomum Cellars
  9. Courtney Elbe, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
  10. Tom Dugan, DeLille Cellars
  11. Lacey Lybecker, Cairdeas Winery
  12. Rianne Perry, Washington State Department of Ag (WSDA rep.)

LCB Approves Preproposal to Consider Permanent Serving Allowances for 18-20-year-olds

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.

Notice to Stakeholders


CR 101 filed as WSR 23-07-084 on March 15, 2023


The Washington Hospitality Grant Program

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.