Industry Alerts

Industry Alert #1: Is .05 BAC on the agenda for some?

It seems that we just cannot get a break...the neo-Prohibitionists are raising their heads again.....Because so many of us are tourism destinations, this is a major threat to our futures. If you are not a member of OWPA or WineAmerica, invest some of the savings you are enjoying from the Excise Tax Credit to fight this fight and join us.  

From the Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Jan. 17, 2018

[EXCERPTS from the release with a link to the entire piece below]

 "The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report recommended a number of actions, 

  • Lowering state laws criminalizing alcohol-impaired driving from 0.08 to 0.05 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC)

  • Increasing alcohol taxes significantly

  • Strengthening policies to prevent illegal alcohol sales to people under 21 and to already-intoxicated adults

  • Enacting all-offender ignition interlock laws

  • Providing effective treatment for offenders when needed."

 "While getting to zero alcohol-impaired driving deaths sounds like an overly ambitious goal, it builds on the momentum of Vision Zero, an approach that recognizes that traffic-related fatalities are not just 'accidents,' but rather are embedded in a network of events and circumstances with causal links that can be averted," said committee chair Steven Teutsch, adjunct professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, senior fellow at the Public Health Institute, and senior fellow at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California.  "The plateauing fatality rates indicate that what has been done to decrease deaths from alcohol-impaired driving has been working but is no longer sufficient to reverse this growing public health problem.  Our report offers a comprehensive blueprint to reinvigorate commitment and calls for systematic implementation of policies, programs, and systems changes to renew progress and save lives."

Industry Alert #2: Tax credit a reality -- albeit it is temporary

FOR MORE THAN 2 YEARS, OWPA HAS BEENTALKING ABOUT WINEAMERICA'S WORK TO REDUCE YOUR FEDERAL TAX BURDEN.  This week it came to fruition.  We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our own Senator Rob Portman who introduced the amendment [first presented by Senator Wyden of Oregon] to the just passed tax reform legislation.  

Details below in a release sent just now by WineAmerica president Jim Trezise: 

WineAmerica Applauds Passage of Federal Alcohol Excise Tax Reform
December 20, 2017, Washington, DC

WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, today hailed the passage of federal alcohol excise tax reform legislation as a new opportunity for growth of the American wine industry. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which President Trump is expected to sign soon, includes key provisions of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act that will reduce federal excise taxes on wine, beer, and spirits. 

WineAmerica and its beverage coalition partners enlisted 304 House and 55 Senate co-sponsors from both parties. "We are grateful to all legislative supporters, but particularly Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) who led the majority support, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) for adding our bill into the broader Senate legislation, and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who was the original champion of the entire concept and the language," said WineAmerica President Jim Trezise. "On the House side, Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee played a crucial role."

The bill will save all wineries, regardless of size, significant money through an excise tax credit mechanism which reduces the effective rate. For example, while the federal excise tax on table wine will remain unchanged at $1.07 per gallon 

  • There will be a new tax credit of $1.00 on the first 30,000 gallons produced, making the effective tax rate $0.07 (seven cents) per gallon. [editorial note by OWPA:  your  current 17 cents under the 1990 small producer exemption will be reduced to 7 cents per our  many prior discussions]

  • The tax credit on the next 100,000 gallons produced is $0.90

[OWPA editorial note:  your current 17 cents will remain per the 1990 small producer exemption]

  • Between 130,000 and 750,000 gallons produced the tax credit will be $0.535.

[OWPA editorial note:  for our largest wineries, this will save thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands .. and will encourage growth among our medium sized wineries]

  • The tax credit limits out at a ceiling of 750,000 gallons.

  • The legislation also increases the allowable alcohol level for table wine from 14% to 16%, reflecting the tangible impact of climate change on grape ripening in some states.

The federal excise tax provisions are programmed to expire on December 31, 2019, which means WineAmerica and its beverage coalition partners will need to work with Congress on making the new rates permanent. 

 WineAmerica's coalition consists of the American Craft Spirits Association, the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, the Distilled Spirits Council, and the Wine Institute.

 "There are nearly 10,000 wineries across all 50 states, and the vast majority are small, family-owned farms and businesses, so this is a welcome development for growing our entire industry," said Trent Preszler, PhD, CEO of Bedell Cellars on Long Island and Chairman of the WineAmerica Board of Directors. "The excise tax savings will allow wineries to invest money back into their businesses in countless ways, whether that's hiring new employees, buying oak barrels, or planting vineyards. Ultimately, such investments will help American wineries be more competitive in the global marketplace."

WineAmerica recently unveiled a national economic impact study showing that the American wine industry generated a $220 billion benefit to the American economy in 2017, including 1.7 million jobs and $75.8 billion in wages. Of the total impact, $58.8  billion involved the "supplier" sector which includes goods and services like tractors and vineyard supplies; tanks and barrels; packaging and transportation; plus finance, insurance and real estate. Many of these sectors stand to benefit as wineries invest their savings from the tax reduction.

"We also thank WineAmerica Vice President Michael Kaiser and government affairs advisors Larry Meyers and Fran Boyd of Meyers & Associates for all their great work on this initiative," said Trezise. "WineAmerica specializes in national grassroots public policy advocacy involving our members from all around the country, and these are the people who bring it all together."

For more details about the actual Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, contact Michael Kaiser (, 202-223-5172)

For more details about WineAmerica's national economic impact study, visit or email

WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations. As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.