Winemaking is a regulated business. Vineyards and wineries must comply with laws and regulations of California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, as well as many other local, state and federal requirements.
I can help you with every aspect of the challenging legal landscape associated with the production and distribution of wine.
Our services include the following:
- Structuring your business to limit liability and pay appropriate taxes: forming sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs).
- Acquiring the location for your vineyard or winery: negotiating and drafting real estate purchase agreements and leases.
- Complying with local zoning: obtaining approval to operate your vineyard or winery under the local zoning code.
- Complying with environmental laws: ensuring that your vineyard or winery will not violate state and federal conservation laws.
- Registering your business with federal authorities: obtaining necessary approval to produce and distribute wine from federal Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB); maintaining TTB approval by accurate TTB recordkeeping.
- Acquiring a license from California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC): applying for the appropriate state ABC license to produce and sell wine; maintaining your license by complying with all ABC laws.
- Alternatives to the typical winegrower license: custom crush production and “virtual wineries.”
- Complying with additional federal, state and local laws: sales tax compliance; workplace safety (OSHA) regulations; Immigration and Naturalization (INS) regulations; federal and state wage and hour laws; food handling permits; occupancy permits; etc.
- Registering your trademark: establishing and protecting your business name and image by trademark registration.
- Getting paid for your grapes: grower’s liens to secure payment of the purchase price.
- Using someone else’s grapes: grape purchase agreements
- Using someone else’s land: vineyard leases.
- Hiring the winemaker and other key employees: employment agreements
- Staffing the vineyard or winery: employment policies, procedures, manuals and benefit packages.
- Labeling your wine bottle: applying for Certification of Label/Bottle Approval (COLA) from TTB; mandatory, optional and prohibited information on a wine label.
- Cultivating customers and making a profit: complying with regulations allowing you to sell your wine “Direct-to-Consumer” (DTC) in your retail store, tasting room, or by mail/internet.
- Resolving disputes: representing the vineyard or winery before all state and federal courts and administrative agencies, including ABC protest hearings, disciplinary hearings, and conditional use permit proceedings.