Proposed Bill allows Vintners to Donate without License
It’s a crime to donate without a license. Vintner Bill Wolf, of Eagle Eye Wine in Napa, learned about this law the hard way after he was cited by the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) for donating his wine to a charitable event.
However, Assemblywoman Noreen Evans is heading a movement to decriminalize donating without a license. Assembly Bill 323, if passed, would allow more California winemakers to donate and pour wines at charitable events. This bill is supposed to address a law that most winemakers don’t even know exists.
According to Evans, “Some vintners are prohibited from donating and pouring wine at nonprofit fundraisers … This is extremely confusing for nonprofits trying to organize fundraising events whose good work relies on contributions from the wine industry.”
Most of the confusion surrounding this law lies in definition of a “winery.” According to the ABC, wineries hold a license called an “02,” which indicates that they have a physical winery on their property. If you carry an “02” license, you can donate to non-profits, if not, it’s illegal.
Although this may not seem like a problem, it can be for labels who do not own their own winemaking facilities. AB 323 would allow some other types of licensed vintners to donate along with those who carry the “02” license.
Instead of paying the fines, Bill Wolf toke the issue before an administrative judge. Wolf noted that, “We felt it was not only unfair to us but the nonprofits we want to support.” AB 323 now heads to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations for further review.