Family Winemakers of California monitors and lobbies a variety of public policy issues on behalf of its members. Legislation ranging from changes to the tied-house laws (the state’s alcohol laws that were crafted after Prohibition), fees and taxes, business regulations, and environmental issues that affect winery and vineyard operations must be identified, their impact gauged and action taken.
The scope of the effort is significant. Each year the California Legislature introduces over 2,000 bills.
Family Winemakers has started to identify priority bills for this year and will have a final list in early March. We're exploring opportunities to remedy the social media marketing problems that deal with naming retailers, and how to deal with sales tax collection on consumer wine events. The challenges ahead will continue to be water availability and its beneficial use, taxation, and farm labor.
The 2015-16 legislative session is underway. Committee hearings will start in late March and early April.
State agencies, such as the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Department of Food & Agriculture, and departments within the California Environmental Protection Agency that regulate business activities, formulate new regulations based on recent laws or update old regulations. In addition, Family Winemakers monitors and acts on initiatives pursued by these agencies and regional regulatory bodies, as well as federal actions by the Tax and Trade Bureau.
Our ongoing engagement in the 14-year Pierce’s Disease Control Program, which contains the spread of the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter while critical research on protecting grapevines is a priority. In the spring of 2015 growers will vote on whether to extend the program and industry assessment until March 2021.
FWC is opposing a regulatory initiative being pushed by CalEPA to change Proposition 65 warning signs, add new warning language, and present additional, potentially non-scientific information on exposures through a new state website. In addition, FWC is engaged in the heat illness regulatory proposal.
California State Capitol Building