I’ll open this second installment in OWB’s series of Special Alert bulletins with a reminder to view the Oregon Wine Board’s COVID-19 toolkit, which is packed with an assortment of resources and informational materials to address many of the most frequently asked questions.
A special thanks to those who joined yesterday’s group call to discuss the various aspects of the COVID-19 emergency and their effects on your businesses. Representatives from nearly every Oregon winery association and growers group, along with our valuable partners in Oregon tourism, legal and government affairs offered their perspectives on ways to coordinate our actions for maximum impact and share the most useful information. Here are the summary notes of yesterday’s call.
Look for a summary next week of the Marketing call held today with wine business owners from around the state.
An important topic raised yesterday relates to questions about actions being taken in Washington, D.C. Work began earlier this month to bring the unique challenges facing our beverage alcohol sectors, which together employ 5.4 million Americans, front and center for congressional action as the next federal relief bill is being written. Wine advocacy groups joined with brewers, distillers and others to ask for special considerations including:
Temporary suspension of federal alcohol excise taxes and payroll taxes
Zero percent interest loans from the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Assistance programs
New federal grant programs that would include an industry stabilization fund enabling limited short term cash advances to some businesses
As the next federal funding package develops, the Oregon Winegrowers Association will be tracking it along with developments in Salem as the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response continues its work. OWA reports that Governor Brown has not mandated shelter-in-place restrictions, however they are under consideration. OWA and other groups provided input to the Governor urging her to include vineyard and winery activities as “essential services” in any Executive action.
OWA also points us to some changes in Federal Express’s “adult signature required” practices related to wine deliveries. See this message from FedEx.
As you may have seen, WineAmerica has compiled a survey to measure the economic impact of the coronavirus. Responses are important and support wine industry advocacy for emergency federal assistance. Please help ensure Oregon’s voice is represented and respond by the deadline of Monday, March 23 at 5 p.m.
Here in Oregon, the Liquor Control Commission was engaged in rulemaking this week to make some improvements to sections of Chapter 845 dealing with direct shipment and delivery of wine to Oregon residents. One of those changes enables wineries to begin fulfilling same-day orders as soon as they apply for the permit. Previously, a short processing period had to be observed. Next day shipments do not require an application, but if your winery does not yet have same-day fulfillment privileges, you can find the form here.
While home delivery was already permissible, with the Commission’s action yesterday the hours for same-day delivery of alcohol have been extended to 2:30 a.m. OLCC has a tip sheet on its temporary changes here. In addition, OLCC reminds us that wineries using “for-hire” carriers for DTC shipments need to be aware of some important requirements such as:
The delivery person must be at least 18 years old
The delivery agent must verify that the recipient of the shipment is at least 21 years old and not visibly intoxicated
The wine is to be delivered between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.
Delivery records and signatures need to be retained
A list of OLCC approved “for-hire” carriers can be found here.
Finally, make a note that next Monday, March 23, an online session, Virtual Wine Tastings in Five Steps, is being offered by DTC Wine Workshops. Click here for the link to the toolkit with the discount code negotiated by OWB enabling your team to get $25 off per registration.