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New wine legislation expected to expand industry on the Central Coast and across California

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Alta Colina, Paso Robles - 2015
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Wine industry privileges will be expanding with the recent passing of three wine-related bills.

Three new wine-related bills will officially become law after being approved by the state legislature and getting Governor Newsom’s signature.

Each bill offers opportunities to expand wine industry privileges.

SB 19 will allow wineries to open a second offsite tasting room location. Current law limits wineries to one offsite tasting room in addition to a tasting room at their production facility.

AB 239 will allow winery customers to refill their wine bottles at an offsite tasting room location. Wineries are currently limited to refilling at their production facility.

AB 1267, crafted by local Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham, will allow wineries and other alcoholic beverage manufacturers to advertise donations made to nonprofit organizations through the sale of alcohol.

Joel Peterson is the executive director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. He said although it is technically illegal to advertise donations made through alcohol sales, it hasn’t been heavily enforced by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“There [were] national beer and wine companies doing breast cancer awareness, leukemia, all kinds of dollar-a-bottle or [giving] a portion of [their] proceeds toward a nonprofit,” Peterson said. “But hypothetically having that be illegal was just kind of nonsensical to all of us.”

Peterson said it just made sense to pass legislation making it legal.

Jason Haas is the main proprietor at Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles. He said the winery works with Must! Charities to donate a dollar of every bottle they sell in the month of December for community projects.

He said it is a good way for the winery to give back and make a difference.

“For an organization like Must! that really draws from this local community and this local industry, having something simple that a business or a winery can participate in is a really important piece of how they can get the funds to aggregate to make these transformational investments,” Haas said.

Haas said legally promoting the month-long donation campaign with the passing of AB 1267 will likely mean more business for the winery and, by extension, a bigger donation to Must!.

The bills will officially become law January 1, 2022.

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