Oregon Winery Legislation Signed in Salem
OverviewHouse Bill 3280 is the only winery bill approved by the 2011 Legislature, and it makes several important changes, especially regarding special events.
Up to this point, different counties have allowed different types of events at wineries, and one concept for the new legislation was that the same rules should apply statewide. Industry advocates hoped that the privileges enjoyed by wineries in only some counties would be granted everywhere. However, opponents were able to maintain the status quo.
Counties which have been allowing special events can still do so, but counties which have not been allowing them are now prohibited from doing so. In other words, the playing field is still not level. The number of events is capped at 25 per year, and counties may request a written statement from a CPA to confirm that gross income from special events and food sales does not exceed 25% of the gross income from retail wine sales.
For the wine piece, the law now expressly allows tours, tasting rooms and wine clubs. The 15-acre vineyard minimum remains, despite industry efforts to reduce it for the benefit of smaller boutique wineries and start-ups. The largest wineries (at least 50 acres of vineyards on an 80-acre site plus 80 acres of owned vineyards elsewhere in the state, and production of 150,000 gallons annually) have additional opportunities. They can have a full- service restaurant and more than 25 events, subject to more rigorous permitting requirements.
Many wineries with prior approvals were concerned that new restrictions would require them to scale back, or at least do more paperwork to show compliance, and this bill responds to that concern with strong language which assures that prior approved structures and uses, including events, may be continued. Most wineries with established events businesses are expected to utilize this provision to escape the new restrictions on special events.
For more information on how this may affect your operations, contact Joseph Schaefer at (503) 796-2091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.