Friday, December 8, 2006
For compliance, social responsibility, industry growth…
Wine & Grape Foundation Unveils Legal Reference
The New York Wine & Grape Foundation has released a 1998-2006 Update of the New York State Winery Handbook as a resource for wineries to understand the laws and regulations governing the industry, including key changes in recent years. The extensive Update has been emailed to all New York wineries and other interested parties, and posted on the Foundation’s web site (http://www.newyorkwines.org) under the “Information Station” section.
“This document will be a valuable resource for current members of our industry, potential investors, and regulators,” said Foundation President Jim Trezise. “Social responsibility is one of our three major goals along with quality and productivity, and obeying the law is a vital part of that. The laws and regulations governing the wine industry are numerous and complex, so we are trying to simplify and clarify them for everyone’s benefit.”
The Update was developed by Charles Cramton, the Foundation’s legal counsel and Assistant Dean for Graduate Legal Studies at Cornell University, with review by the legal staffs of the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets and the New York State Liquor Authority. The original Winery Handbook, also coordinated by Mr. Cramton, was published in 1989, with the first Update released in 1997. This new Update covers 1998-2006 in terms of changes in State law, including the direct interstate shipment of wine.
Direct interstate shipment is a highly complex and ever-evolving issue that varies in every state. The Seattle attorney R. Courbin Houchins constantly tracks developments in every state and provides frequent updates on his “Notes on Wine Distribution”, which also includes additional sources of information. Mr. Houchins has generously agreed to let the Foundation post his updates on its web site as a more detailed companion document regarding direct shipment.
The Update is intended as a starting point for legal information, but not as formal legal advice, for both existing wineries and potential investors along with regulators. Later this year, the Foundation will organize “Compliance Seminars” for those groups to enhance understanding, compliance and communication. In addition, the Foundation’s “Viticulture 2007” conference on February 7-9 in Rochester will have a special seminar on compliance with federal and state laws.
The 1998-2006 Update includes some new features like a listing of on-line resources, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, and information about starting a winery. Following an Introduction, the key sections are:
Legal Update: Quick Reference Pages (summarizing recent changes in the law and the specific statutory reference)
On-Line Resources: How and Where to Find Answers (listing and hot-linking various web-based information sources of laws and regulations)
Winery Definitions (highlighting the distinctions among winery, farm winery, special winery, special farm winery, and micro-winery)
Winery Summary Chart—Comparison of Different Licenses (clarifying the various rights, privileges and responsibilities of the different types of license)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (providing answers to the most commonly asked questions from industry members and others)
Starting a Winery: Basic Resources (basic information sources about the legal, economic, and other aspects of owning and operating a winery)
“The original Winery Handbook had the two basic purposes of keeping people out of trouble, and helping people get into the business,” said Trezise. “The approach was to make the law more readily understandable to lay persons, and also to provide all the legal and regulatory information between two covers to save both time and money. This Update reflects that same spirit, but with the added advantages of electronic communication, and should be particularly useful as our industry’s growth accelerates. I get frequent calls from people interested in starting a winery, and can now direct them to updated, accessible information.”
The Foundation’s overall goal is “to have the New York grape and wine industry recognized as a world leader in quality, productivity, and social responsibility.” The 1998-2006 Handbook Update was made possible by a special grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets.
“We are grateful to the Department for this grant and its legal advice, to the State Liquor Authority for its input, and for many wineries for their assistance as well,” said Trezise. “This new document should benefit everyone.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jim Trezise, firstname.lastname@example.org, , ext 203