Wine law modernization continues

We are very pleased to report that WWI’s priority bill, HB 2040, was passed by the Legislature and signed into law! This bill was the product of much work with an interim Legislative Committee on Beer & Wine Regulation and stakeholder negotiations. The resulting new law is progressive and significant reform of WA wine law!

HB 2040:  

  • Allows you to provide branded promotional materials of nominal value (like t-shirts, lighters, pens) to your favorite retailers
  • Allows for investment between the tiers, so that you can invest in a restaurant or hotel–or a restaurant or hotel can invest in your winery
  • Allows you to pour and participate at events holding a special occasion permit and at private clubs
  • Addresses COSTCO lawsuit pricing issues, eliminating the 10% minimum mark-up and post & hold requirement

Off-site storage and distribution allowed

WWI’s other priority piece of legislation, allows you to have one off-site storage location for your wine from which you can distribute. It also continues the ban on extension of credit but allows willing wineries and retailers to use electronic fund transfers instead of cash.

95% Washington Grapes required

WWI supported this WA Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) bill and worked with WAWGG to craft language that would further the shared goal of reinforcing the message of quality as the universal characteristic of Washington wines while providing adequate protections for wineries producing in WA. This new law requires that 95% of the grapes in a wine labeled “Washington State” be from Washington (or a WA AVA). The law applies to wine produced from grapes harvested after 2009. Port and dessert wines are exempt from the law.

Wine in Art Galleries and Wedding Boutiques:

WWI supported legislation that will allow art galleries and wedding boutiques to serve one glass of wine to their customers. Business owners testified before Legislative Committees that they would like to support local wineries while providing this new perk for their customers.

Wine Sales at the Legislative Gift Center:

WWI worked with the sponsor of and supported this bill that will allow for the sale of Washington wines at the Legislative Gift Center on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. The WWC will assist the Gift Center in selecting wines for sale. If you are interested in selling your wine at the Gift Center, contact the WA Wine Commission for details on how the program will work.

Home-Made Wine & Beer:

WWI worked with the WA Brewers’ Guild on a bill that was brought forward by home brewers, which will allow up to 20 gallons of home-made wine and beer to be removed from the home for private consumption. Home-made beer and wine can be used for organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions.

No New Taxes:

Finally, WWI met with key members of the Legislature to fight any new taxes on wine. As you know, the State ass grappling to address a budget deficit of historical proportions and all new revenues were on the table. Taxes were not raised on your product in this challenging economic climate.