Category: WWI News

Washington Wine Institute D.C. Fly In: WineAmerica 2024 D.C. Policy Conference

From May 6th-8th WWI’s Executive Director Josh McDonald, Vice President of our Board of Directors and co-owner of Fortuity Cellars Emily Fergestrom, and COO of L’Ecole No 41 Ryan Pennington joined WineAmerica and 45 other wine-producing states for our annual trip to Washington D.C. to meet with our WA Congressional delegation, House and Senate committees’ staff and leadership, and federal agencies such as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that make decisions and have regulatory authority over the wine industry. Our WA wine group grew in size and strength with several members of the WA Winegrowers Association also flying in to help us speak as one united front for the WA wine industry.

Pictured: Congressman Kilmer and Newhouse meet with Washington wine advocates from WWI, Winegrowers, and more.

For our three days in D.C. we spent a majority of the time lobbying our entire Congressional delegation, TTB, and major players in Congress on several federal issues we are helping lead on for WA wine such as The Farm Bill (MAP funding, research funding, specialty crop block grants, and more), nutritional labeling, ingredient labeling, USPS wine shipping, USDA guidelines on safe levels of alcohol consumption, and more. We were the only state to meet with all 12 of our delegation including face-to-face meetings with both our powerful U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. We are hopeful our advocacy efforts made a meaningful difference in getting positive outcomes on all of these critical issues for the WA wine industry!


0.05 BAC Bill Does Not Pass 2024 Session, WWI Preparing for 2025 Opposition

We are pleased to report that our strong advocacy on behalf of our members and pushback on SB 5002, the .05 BAC bill, alongside the Washington Hospitality Association, Washington Brewers Guild and other stakeholders opposed to the policy, resulted in the bill failing to receive enough support to pass off the Senate floor this session and will not be considered further for 2024. We continue to be vocal that the Legislature should focus on how to combat high BAC drivers and repeat DUI offenders instead of considering an approach that will not get at the problem but instead do extreme damage to our state’s wineries, restaurants, brewers, distillers, and more. We will continue to ask the Legislature to work with us towards solutions that make a meaningful impact.
This said, make no mistake, we expect a .05 BAC bill to be introduced in the 2025 session. WWI needs all our members’ support as we continue to get stronger and better equipped to push back as your Association. If you have not renewed your 2023-2024 WWI membership dues yet, we would be grateful for your help in getting those paid soon so we can plan on what resources we need to best represent our members next session on a .05 BAC bill as well as all difficult legislative proposals. We also humbly ask for our members to reach out to your network of fellow winery owners/operators to join WWI, helping us become stronger and better equipped for the 2025 legislative session.
For any questions or support with membership needs, including dues, contact our Membership and Programs Manager Marie Schurk at

Virtual Listening Sessions on Nutritional Labeling and Advertising of Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages with Alcohol Content

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is announcing two virtual listening sessions to receive input from the public on nutritional labeling of wine, distilled spirits, and malt beverages to disclose per-serving alcohol and nutritional information, major food allergens, and/or ingredients. These listening sessions are intended to engage the public, including consumers, public health stakeholders, and industry members of all sizes, and facilitate the public’s ability to provide input to inform rulemaking.

Virtual listening sessions will be held on the following days:

·  February 28, 2024, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. PST (register for February 28 session)

·  February 29, 2024, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PST (register for February 29 session)

The deadline to register to virtually attend either session is noon EST, February 27, 2024. When registering, participants may indicate whether they wish to speak at one of the sessions. Requests to speak during one of the listening sessions must be submitted by noon EST, on February 26, 2024. If all registered speakers have had an opportunity to speak, the session may conclude early.

Written comments may be submitted electronically or via postal mail and must be submitted or postmarked by 11:59 p.m. EST, March 29, 2024, using the instructions provided in Notice No. 232. To view all documents and comments related to this notice, see Docket No. TTB-2024-0002 at  

To facilitate input from the public, TTB has developed a list of questions. TTB encourages commenters to explain the rationale behind their comments and to include any available supporting data and other information, as appropriate.

Visit for additional details about the listening sessions.

LCB Adopts MAST 13 Allowances

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) adopted rules January 31 amending multiple sections of rule related to alcohol delivery, outdoor alcohol service, and MAST 13 permit holders.

Effective March 2, wineries may allow 18-20 year old MAST holding employees to pour wine and beer away from the table and similar additional allowances for wineries during Covid-era operations after the Washington Wine Institute filed the CR 101 with the LCB one year ago and worked alongside WWI members to advocate for this change.

After this allowance expired in September 2022, the LCB received a petition for rulemaking that sought to amend WAC 314-17-015 and make this a permanent part of rule, allowing MAST 13 permit holders to pour beer and wine away from the customer’s table. In January 2023, the LCB accepted this petition for rulemaking. This rulemaking project began in March 2023, and was later combined with the SSB 5448 rulemaking.

WWI testified before the LCB January 24 on rulemaking we’ve engaged in over 2023 pertaining to alcohol to go/outdoor seating and MAST 13 rules initiated from the passage of SB 5448 in last year’s legislative session.

The rule also modifies allowances to outdoor alcohol service, which removes language to make clear that outdoor food service is not required for businesses that are not required to serve food indoors.

Concise Explanatory Statement


CR 103 filed as WSR 24-04-042 on January 31, 2024

More information is available on the LCB Current Rulemaking Activity webpage. If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact To sign up to receive email announcements for all LCB rulemaking activities visit the agency’s sign-up page. There you can register to receive updates and announcements for a wide variety of agency topics.

WWI Joins Hospitality and Brewers in Testifying in Strong Opposition to HB 2196 the .05 BAC Bill

The House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee held a public hearing on Thursday for HB 2196 the .05 BAC bill. We are communicating with all of our members and the industry to join us in vocal opposition to the bill.

We joined the Washington Hospitality Association and the Washington Brewers Guild testifying in opposition to the myriad of reasons why this policy proposal will not achieve the laudable goal of reducing DUI-related fatalities in Washington.

Instead, we believe the bill will only harm our hospitality industry, especially wineries and other liquor licensees located in rural areas of our state. We spoke to such valid points as: 

– 49 of 50 states in our country have a .08 BAC law that is based in scientific research and was set with guidance from law enforcement many years ago. Utah is the only state with a .05 BAC law.

– Utah’s own data shows that for three years after the law’s implementation, 2020-2022, the unfortunate reality for their state was seeing alcohol-related fatalities increase each year.

– There is no scientifically valid training for a server to identify a customer at a .05 level, making this practically impossible to implement as a useful tool.

– Washington State Patrol and police officers overall are currently legally allowed to arrest any person for a DUI at any level of impairment, giving them discretion before making an arrest. This law would significantly narrow that discretion.

– High BAC drivers and repeat offenders are the real problem. Focusing on getting these people off the road who clearly have complete disregard for the safety of others should be our state’s top priority. Let’s work together to strengthen existing DUI laws and reduce the number of these instances on our roadways.

We will continue to speak to Democrats and Republicans on the Committee and as many as we can in the State House asking to oppose this bill and instead work with all stakeholders on solutions that will meaningfully lower DUI-related arrests and fatalities and make Washington State roads safer for all to use each year.

A big “THANK YOU” to every WWI member willing to use our Action Alert in last week’s newsletter to sign in “Con” on HB 2196 and add your voice to the process in hopes we together can make a difference. We are incredibly grateful, and we will likely ask for your help again if this bill advances to the next step in the legislative process. We will as always keep our members up to date as is possible on the current status of this bill and all bills we are engaged on during the 2024 legislative session.

HB 2196: .05 BAC Bill

Thursday, January 25th, at 8 a.m. the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee will be hearing a bill identical to the one currently in the Senate that lowers the allowed blood alcohol concentration threshold for someone to be arrested of a DUI from .08 to .05. Of our 50 states, only Utah has a similar law. In 2023, the Washington Wine Institute joined other hospitality industries in strongly opposing this bill. For this session, we will once again be in strong opposition and testifying in committee next Thursday to all of the reasons why this will harm Washington wineries while not solving the problem of DUIs and traffic fatalities. We welcome our WWI members to join us in our effort to push back against this policy proposal by signing in “Con” on HB 2196 prior to Thursday’s hearing. The process is simple, takes only a minute and helps our work on this issue tremendously. You can have your voice heard in the process by clicking here and letting the House Committee know you are opposed to HB 2196.

WWI Testifies before WSLCB on Outdoor Seating and MAST 13 Rules

WWI testified before the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board January 17 on rulemaking we’ve engaged in over 2023 pertaining to alcohol to go/outdoor seating and MAST 13 rules initiated from the passage of SB 5448 in last year’s legislative session.

We are using this rulemaking opportunity to push hard for updated rules that will modernize outdoor seating/service for all on-premises liquor licensees and increased allowances for MAST 13 (18-20 year old) workers.

These include:

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

-Streamline outdoor service rules so instead of two, complex sets of rules (public vs privately owned areas) all licensees are given one simple-to-understand-and-implement flexible rules based on each business’ desired approach to setting up their outdoor service area.

-Allow 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 in the same manner they are permitted to do so at the table.

We have met with all three WSLCB Board Members as well as WSLCB licensing and policy staff advocating for these improvements to our outdoor service and MAST 13 rules. We are making some progress, and we remain hopeful of final outcomes that truly do modernize the rules. We will keep our members apprised of this work as it continues forward.

WWI 2024 Legislative Session Preview

The Washington Wine Institute (WWI) is preparing for the legislative session beginning January 2024, paying close attention to current pain-points and issues that Washington wineries are facing.

.05 BAC Bill: A bill to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for driving from .08 to .05 (SB 5002) was introduced during the 2023 legislative session and died in the Senate, however, we expect a .05 BAC bill to be considered during the 2024 session. We are currently working with the Washington Hospitality Association and Brewers Guild to create messaging around this bill and the harms it could cause to the wine, beer and other hospitality industries. We need the support of Washington wineries and are asking for your membership to help ensure all of our voices are heard in advocating for the industry and focus on creative solutions to address drunk driving in a way that would not harm hospitality businesses around the state. We also ask for our members’ continued support and appreciate their input on this bill and its potential impacts to small businesses during the 2024 legislative session.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): Known in Olympia as the WRAP Act, this legislation would require all businesses that sell (almost) anything in Washington State to be responsible for the end-use of their packaging material used. For WA wineries, the focus is on what happens to our glass and to a lesser extent cardboard.

If our state is going to overhaul our entire waste system and ask all industries to pay for these massive changes, we need a system proven to work vs. one created for us by Ecology. WWI is focused on an approach similar to Oregon’s current bottle deposit program tailored to work for Washington State. Ideally, a system that aligns with both CA and OR’s approaches so any cost and labeling needs do not require changes just for WA.

California Bottle Bill education: A change in wine bottle labeling requirements is impacting wineries that sell wine to California, starting July 1, 2025. The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, known as the California bottle bill, adds wine bottles to the Beverage Container Recycling Program, requiring recycle value messaging and some sort of state identification on labels. This means that a Washington State winery that ships any amount of wine to California, whether it be wholesale or through wine club/online wine shop/similar DTC, must comply with the new California bottle bill law when the requirements go into effect. WWI is paying close attention to these upcoming changes to help Washington wineries feel prepared throughout this process as the program is quickly approaching with a start date of January 1, 2024, though the deadline for updated labels is July 1, 2025. WWI will continue to share any educational resources with members and feature any relevant speakers on this topic during our 2024 Annual Membership Meeting.

Outdoor seating modernization/MAST 13 Permit Allowances: WWI is actively engaged in rulemaking to recommend updates to outdoor seating allowances for wineries after SB 5448 was signed into law following the 2023 legislative session. These recommendations to the LCB are part of the larger rulemaking effort to implement SB 5448, focus 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. Recommendations include:

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

– simplification of rules to allow both privately and publicly owned spaces the use of demarcations instead of permanent barriers

The other part of this rulemaking involves incorporating new MAST 13 permit holders (18-20 year olds) allowances temporarily provided by the LCB during COVID-era operations, specifically in regards to allowing these employees to pre pour flights and glasses of wine away from the table. Many WWI members encouraged us to pursue a permanent solution, and we are happyto report the LCB is actively working with us on this solution. If successful, these new allowances will be in place in early 2024. Stay tuned!

We will continue to keep WWI members informed on the work being done in regard to these issues and opportunities to provide feedback. A huge thanks to all of our members for their ongoing support. We look forward to hearing from you in preparation for the 2024 legislative session and encourage any Washington wineries that would like their voice heard to sign up for WWI membership and add to our unified industry voice and strength in Olympia.

California Bottle Bill Begins January 2024

Starting January 1, 2024, the California Beverage Container Recycling Program will expand to include wine and distilled spirits. The California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, known as the California Bottle Bill, will require updated labels for all wine bottles which include recycle value messaging and some sort of state identification. The program will also require bottles refunds, mandatory recycling and reporting.

Even out-of-state wineries that sell wine in California must register for the program. If the winery sells through a wholesaler, then the process starts with the wholesaler. If the winery sells DtC, then the bottle bill states that the direct shipper permit holder is considered the beverage manufacturer and distributor.

– California-Based: California wineries and distilleries, and importers of wine or spirits into California, will need to register as a “beverage manufacturer.” They will also need to register as a “distributor” if they sell to retailers (whether on-sale or off-sale), restaurants, bars, or directly to consumers.

– Out-of-State: Out-of-state wineries and distilleries with a California Wine Direct Shippers Permit, and that sell directly to California consumers, will need to register as a “beverage manufacturer” and a “distributor.”

Click here to find out what you need to do and for the link to register with CalRecycle as soon as possible for monthly payment and reporting requirements.

Please note there are two different start dates for what the new Bottle Bill requires of your winery.

– CalRecycle Registration and Processing Fee Start Date: January 1, 2024

– CRV Statements on Bottles Start Date: July 1, 2025

The Washington Wine Institute is hosting a webinar with law firm Foster Garvey to cover Bottle Bill requirements for Washington State wineries in January. Please be on the lookout for information on registering for this webinar in your email soon.

New Website Resources for WWI Members

The Washington Wine Institute is excited to announce a new member-exclusive benefit: resource information for your winery all in one place behind the “Members Only” log-in. Current WWI members will soon receive a separate email from WWI staff with their winery’s log in information and instructions.

New web page topics include:  

  • LCB Licenses, Permits and Endorsements 
  • Tax Resources 
  • Licensing and Event FAQs 
  • Liquor License Starters Guide 
  • Grape Hauling Resources 
  • Washington Wine Institute Dues Payment Schedule 
  • And More to Come!
Log in to your member account to view the new web pages. Please email for your login information.


Your membership is appreciated. Through member support, we are able to create new resources like this for wineries across Washington. A huge thank you to our current membership and we invite you to browse the new web pages, search for any helpful resources, and ask a question. Please direct any questions or feedback to Membership & Programs Manager Marie Schurk at or at our contact page.