OWA Regulatory Information

The Oregon Winegrowers Association is the ONLY statewide organization advocating on behalf of Oregon’s vineyards and wineries to decision makers in Salem and Washington D.C. No other association or industry group is in front of emerging issues to ensure the Oregon wine community’s continued success. The OWA advances and protects the investment you have made in your business.

Some of the information and benefits provided to OWA members includes:

Best Practices Resources
OWA also provides best practice resources for the wine community and stakeholders on topics such as the Susceptibility of Vineyards to Phenoxy Herbicide Drift and Recommended Guidelines for Bird Control.

Legal Guidance
Through OWA’s retainer with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, members have access to legal guidance and regulatory compliance updates on topical issues facing wineries and growers. Examples include:

  • Utilizing social media
  • Playing music in tasting rooms
  • Wine grape liens
  • OLCC minor decoy operations

Davis Wright Tremaine also offers OWA members resources for general legal and regulatory questions. Examples include:

  • Common licensing and permitting
  • Labeling regulations
  • Trade practice compliance
  • Employment
  • Land use
  • Distribution issues

Regulatory Reference Guide
Before Oregon wineries may operate commercially, they are required to complete numerous regulatory requirements, including obtaining applicable licenses and permits from both state and federal governments. OWA members can download the guide for navigating the requirements for new wineries and grower sales privilege licensees (GSPs).

Top 10 Tips for Grower Communications, Contracts and Collections
It’s important for growers to conduct due diligence before entering into contracts with customers. OWA members can access a presentation for tips to ensure a positive business relationship between wineries and growers.

Wine Grape Security Interests and Liens
Wine grape security interests and liens are available to growers to utilize as leverage to ensure payment is received.

Music in Tasting Rooms
If you play music in your tasting room by streaming audio from a personal Pandora or iTunes account, you may be violating copyright laws. While it may be a hassle to figure out what licenses you need, the penalties for sidestepping the process can be severe.

Wineries and Social Media
When posting online, wineries should do their best to follow posted Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) guidance, as well as voluntary codes of advertising adopted by national wine, beer, and spirits trade groups.

OLCC Minor Decoy Operations
OLCC and local law enforcement regularly operate minor decoy or “sting” operations at all licensed premises, including wineries. These decoy operations are usually random, but can also be targeted or complaint driven if there is a documented compliance problem with a specific licensee. Wineries should ensure that their employees use best practices when it comes to ID checks.

Land Use Permit Matrix
A number of wine-related land use permitting pathways are available in exclusive farming use (EFU) zones.

Oregon Wine Labeling
Oregon has the strongest truth-in-labeling laws in the country and in many cases they are more stringent than federal standards.

Wine Excise and Privilege Tax
Wineries have both federal and state tax obligations and there are exemptions for small producers.

Oregon Wine Growler FAQ
Oregon law allows for refillable wine containers or “growlers” to be purchased by consumers at local markets, restaurants, bars, or winery tasting rooms.

Trademark Basics – Five Things Everyone Should Know About Trademarks
Learn some basics about trademarks that may be particularly important to know when using a name or symbol to identify your company in the marketplace.

Wine Distribution Contract Checklist
OWA has created a handy checklist for useful tips when choosing a distributor.

Washington State Tax
There are certain circumstances when an Oregon business needs to pay business taxes in the state of Washington. OWA Service Member Irvine and Company LLC provides general guidance for Oregon wineries to help determine if Washington tax is owed. For situation-specific information relevant to your business, or for answers to related questions involving other states, OWA suggests you contact your accountant.

Protect your business. Stay informed. Reduce your costs. Become a member today!