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Member Bulletin: Jan. 2015
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Message from the OWA President, Legal and Regulatory Updates, Upcoming Events and more!
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OWAMember Bulletin


Message from the OWA President

I am your Oregon Winegrowers Association President for 2015 and now in my fourth year as a Board member. My husband Robert and I own a vineyard in the McMinnville AVA and have just celebrated our first decade as growers in Oregon. We both feel extremely grateful to be part of Oregon’s vibrant wine community and cannot imagine a better time to be part of this growing and thriving wine region.

I’d like to sincerely thank Bill Sweat of Winderlea Vineyard and Winery, the outgoing Board president, for his leadership this past year. OWA took on important initiatives to strengthen member engagement, extend stakeholder partnerships, and build bridges with policy-makers. I also want to thank David Beck of Crawford Beck Vineyard, who has served as treasurer this past year, and is now OWA’s vice president. All of our hardworking board members deserve a special thanks for volunteering countless hours behind the scenes addressing the needs of our diverse and expanding industry. They will all continue their terms as Directors this year: Leigh Bartholomew, Dominio IV Winery; Michael Donovan, Irvine Vineyards; John Pratt, Celestina Vineyard; Steve Thomson, King Estate Winery; Doug Tunnell, Brick House Wine Company; and JP Valot, Silvan Ridge Winery.

Most importantly, I’d like to thank you, our OWA members, for your generous support of OWA and its critical mission. Our work to help you advance and protect your business is more important as our industry’s success requires us to advocate on your behalf more effectively and consistently than ever across a diverse range of legislators, regulators and stakeholders. We are facing exciting opportunities and some serious pressures in 2015 and beyond that could quickly and dramatically affect your business — tax increases, a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave, herbicide drift, labor shortages, and research funding to name justa few. As the only statewide organization speaking for Oregon’s growers and winemakers, OWA has assumed a leadership position to advance the industry’s agenda. Decision-makers often ask “what can we do to help Oregon’s grape growers and wineries?” The OWA is the only organization with the reach and resources to answer that question.

If you haven’t already done so, I strongly encourage you to visitwww.oregonwinegrowers.orgto renew your dues for 2015. We simply cannot be successful without your membership contribution. The industry’s agenda now demands broader support than ever and we invite you to forward thislinkto your industry colleagueswho are not currently joining you in support of the OWA and our wine community.Please consult our websiteto seeacurrent list of OWA members.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Oregon Wine Symposium Feb. 24-25 in Portland. As always, don’t hesitate to contactme,Tom Danowski,Jana McKameyorLeah Palermowith any questions about OWA. We are here to be a resource for you and your business.

Yours sincerely,

Ellen Brittan
President, Oregon Winegrowers Association

Highlights from the OWAAnnual Meetings

OWA held annual membership meetings on Jan. 13 in Salem and Jan. 15 in Medford. Members were asked to consider and act on proposed amendments to OWA’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws and overwhelmingly supported the changes. The updated documents can now be accessed on theOWA website.

Doug Hoffman, Wilco CEO and Chair of Oregonians for Food and Shelter, participated in a question and answer session on stakeholder efforts to mitigate phenoxy herbicide drift damage in Oregon vineyards. OWA is participating in an Oregon Dept. of Agriculture workgroup with other agriculture groups and retailers. For its part Wilco has committed to placing shelf talkers in stores, point of sale outreach to licensed applicators, agronomist training and utilizing social media outlets to raise awareness of the problemgoing intothe 2015 growing season. Other stakeholders groups are also communicating with their members about the issue. OWA distributed asample letterfor vineyards to use in reaching out to neighbors to inform them about vineyard susceptibility to certain herbicides, in addition to a2-page backgrounddocument.We strongly urge all vineyards to reach out directly to neighbors before bud break and alert them to the potential for sensitive crop damage resulting from herbicide drift during the growing season.

As part of our effort last year to raise awareness and effectively document the effects of spray drift,ODA received thehighest numberof complaints involving vineyardsit has seen in about a decade.Timely reporting is one of our industry’s most valuable tools in highlighting the scope and magnitude of drift incidents.Verifying crop damages through reporting also allows us to better educate the various audiences who can contribute to solutions.Wecontinue toencourage vineyards to report viaODA’s websiteif you encounter problems.

Members also heard from OWA staff and our lobbying and legal teams on regulatory and policy developments. The presentation can be accessedhere. Please take a few minutes to review OWA’s Policy Principles on p. 14 that guide and focus OWA’s legislative and regulatory work at the state and federal levels.

Lastly, about half of the House and Senate members made an appearance at OWA’s legislative reception on Jan. 13 to taste Oregon wine and learn about our issues and the industry’s growing economic impact. Lawmakers and Governor Kitzhaber were sworn in on Jan. 12 and the session officially commences Feb. 3.

Regulatory and Legal Updates

Massachusetts Direct Shipping Application
The Direct Wine Shipper License went into effect Jan. 1, 2015 in Massachusetts allowing a license holder to sell and deliver up to 12 cases of wine per year directly to a resident of the Commonwealth. The initial fee for a Direct Wine Shipper License is $300 per winery. You can access the applicationhere. OWA Service Member ShipCompliant provides guidance on filling out the application in thisblog post. It is expected to take approximately four weeks for applications to be approved.Questions about the application requirements can be directed to Ralph Sacramone of theMassachusettsABCC at 617-727-3040 ext. 731.

Illinois Wine Shipping Tax Scam
As many of you have probably heard, aChicago law firmhas been ordering wine for delivery at its Illinois law officesin order to identify wineriesthat are not charging and remitting sales and use tax ontheshippingcost.The lawsuits are possible because of a peculiarity of Illinois law, a so-called “whistleblower” provision that the firm has used successfully to collect fees and penalties from businesses throughout the country—even though Illinois state officials are on record as disagreeing with both the firm’s interpretation of the law and its opportunistic approach. The firm’s efforts to date have resulted in profitablesettlementswith online wine sellersbecause the exposure to potential penalties--on shipments going back as far as six years-- makes settlement often cheaper than litigation.

OWA’s outside counsel, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is issuing this advisory to members with additional detailon steps OWA is taking to address these nuisance claims.

It is our view that the relevant Illinois laws do not require wineries to collect and remit sales and use tax on transportation charges into Illinois. Nevertheless, there is reasonable concern about potential exposure to claims and a desire to see the lawsuits halted. As always you have the right to cancel or refuse any delivery so long as the reasons (1) aren’t discriminatory and (2) aren’t designed to manipulate the market (i.e., antitrust).Other states are advising their wineries not to ship to Stephen P. Diamond at 332 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60604. If you are not already doing so, you should collect and remit sales tax on Illinois transportation charges. If transportation charges are built into your sales price, you are probably already paying sales tax on transportation charges.

Over the last few weeks,sincesomeOregon wineries began receiving notification of potential Illinois tax liability, OWAhasbeen in touch with our counterpart wine associations in Illinois, including the California Wine Institute’sstaff thereand the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association. We will be coordinating with themand other organizations as we work to resolvethis pressing issue for members.We will follow up when we are able to address the specifics of our efforts. In the meantime it is our hope that Oregonwineries continue toavoid being targeted by opportunistic lawyers in Illinois or any other state. We encourage you toinformOWA or DWT if you are contacted for any reason byStephen Diamondorthis Chicago law firm.

Social Media Webinar
There are many pitfalls to be aware of in the advertising and marketing of alcoholic beverages, particularly as new media are prominent in the marketing mix for many wineries. Arecent articlepicked up by various media detailed the California ABC's enforcement of a specific and important alcohol advertising law and its broad application to social media activity. The article highlights a few of the advertising and marketing issues that Oregon wineries should also be paying attention to.

OWA hosted a webinar with our legal counsel Davis Wright Tremaine LLC on Navigating Social Media Pitfalls to cover this topic in greater depth.If you were unable to participate and would like to view a recording, please emailLeah Palermo. For more information consult thepresentationand amulti-state surveyfor select states that describes the conditions under which an Oregon winery may list information about retailers in those states who carry the winery’s products. For specific questions, contact Jeff Giametta at DWT.

Member Engagement

Join a Committee
OWA relies on the voluntary service of its Professional Members on a number of committees that advise the OWA Board on important policy and membership matters. These committees are vital during the upcoming legislative session and in helping deliver OWA’s membership recruitment and retention goals. If you are interested in serving on one of three OWA Committees described below, please contactJana McKamey.
  • The Engagement Committee expands and communicates OWA’s value proposition with the goal of inspiring all vineyard, winery and service providers to become and remain members. Bill Sweat serves as chair of this newly created committee.
  • The Land Use and Natural Resources (LUNR) Committee is focused on land use and natural resources issues like herbicide drift, water rights, and special events at wineries. Doug Tunnell of Brick House Vineyards serves as chair.
  • The Public Policy Committee is focused on non-LUNR issues including taxation, immigration, liquor privatization, and research funding, among others. Michael Donovan of Irvine Vineyards serves as chair.

Upcoming Events

Don't Forget: OWA Members Receive A Discount On Oregon Wine Symposium Tickets!

Don’t miss the 2015 Oregon Wine Symposium and Trade Show on February 24 and 25 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland! Check out our fantastic speaker line up of influential industry leaders participating in this year’s sessions, which have been created in response to several pieces of input from our OWA members and industry partners.

Sessions not to miss include agricultural labor dynamics, business succession, tax planning and financial modeling, as well as proven techniques for building and strengthening the brand equity of your winery and/or vineyard.

Visit the 2015 Trade Show featuring 200 of theindustry's top vendorsshowcasing their latest products and services and ready to speak with you. As you begin to plan for the year ahead, don't miss the chance to meet with these exciting exhibitors as they showcase their latest products and services.Register now!

After day one of the symposium, join us in the Trade Show Hall from 4:00-6:00 for the 2015 Oregon Wine Symposium Reception sponsored by Perlo Construction and Tapp Label. This year,Willamette Valley Wineries Associationwill be donating wines in celebration of the 50thAnniversary of the first Pinot noir planting in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Mingle with industry colleagues and chat with industry vendors as wecelebrateto our ever growing Oregon wine industry!
Register Now!
"Taste the Wines of Oregon" Reception in D.C.

Last April OWA hosted its “Taste the Wines of Oregon” reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. In all we had more than 30 wineries from around the state pouring wine for a large group of legislators, staffers and administration officials enthused about Oregon wine. To build on this success, we’d like to invite OWA members to join us for OWA’s upcoming annual “Taste the Wines of Oregon” reception onApril 15 from 5:30-7:30pm at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.We strongly encourage OWA member wineryprincipals tojoin us,pour wine andmeetwith policy-makers. If you are not able to attend in person, we are accepting wine donations for the event (4-6 bottles).Please contactJana McKameyto confirm your interest in participating or donating wine or with questions.
Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association Legislative Reception

OWA members are invited to jointheOregon Restaurant and Lodging Association members for the “Taste Oregon Legislative Reception” between 4:30pm and 8pm on Feb. 17 at the Salem Convention Center. Taste Oregon provides industry members an opportunity to meet legislators who determine laws impacting hospitality businesses. Three key issues OWA and ORLA will be actively engaged on in the 2015 session include paid sick leave, minimum wage, andremoving the prohibition against local governments enacting taxes on alcohol.Engage with lawmakers and let your voice be heard. The event is free but registration is required. VisitORLA’s websitefor more details.


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