WWI brought two significant WA wine policy bills to the Legislature this session, and a third was introduced by Rep. Mike Steele (R-Chelan) due to an LCB enforcement situation on recorked wine that needed either statutory or rule clarification. WWI strongly supported and helped push all three bills “to the finish line” and within the past week all three were signed into law!! Each bill has a 90 day wait before becoming law, so expect to be able to utilize these new allowances by August 1.
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:
• 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
• Allows manufacturers and distributors to link to ticket sales for events held by a retailer of their product, including events benefiting non-profits
• 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.
We want to thank our partners the WA Winegrowers, Washington State University, Walla Walla Community College, and Yakima Valley Community College for their support and help this session passing these bills that improve our state’s alcohol laws and help Washington State wineries have the tools they need to be successful. We also want to thank our prime sponsors Senator Curtis King (R-Yakima), Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Maltby), Rep. Bill Jenkin (R-Walla Walla), and Rep. Mike Steele (R-Chelan) for their leadership on these bills during the 2019 session. Thank you!!