Wednesday, November 25, 2009

FWWS Legislative Proposals 2010

Dear FWWS member,

We have recently received copies of our legislative proposals from the State Code Reviser's office. These are the actual bills the Legislature will be considering in the coming legislative session. We have prepared concise one page fact sheets to go with each bill providing you with information on what the bill does, why it is needed, and the benefits of its passage.

The first bill is our "Tax Reporting Relief Act".

Fact Sheet

This bill, which we have run previously, would provide that wineries selling less than 6,000 gallons of wine annually in Washington would be allowed, to report production and pay State taxes not more than once a year, at their option.

The second bill is our "Craft Wineries Act".

Fact Sheet

This bill is a follow-on to a bill we ran last year. The concept is to create a new optional class of small winery that would be exempt from most of the purely economic restrictions on trade in Washington wine. The difference this year is that the bill would only apply to smaller wineries, and would require an opt in.

The third and final bill is our "Payment Parity Act".

Fact Sheet

This bill would extend exactly the same terms created last year for completing Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT's) to all other forms of payment, including ordinary business checks. As with the other bills it is optional as wine would continue to be due on receipt without voluntary agreements between wineries and their wholesale customers.

We encourage you to read the fact sheets and, if time permits, the actual bills as well. The Payment Parity Act for example changes only a few words of the RCW and should take less time to read than its accompanying fact sheet.

We are available to answer any questions you have about the details of these bills. We encourage you to discuss and promote these proposals with your winemaking colleagues and to explain the importance of the bills to them. As always, we value your comments and input.


The FWWS Board

Monday, November 23, 2009

FWWS Meeting with WWC

Dear FWWS Member,

The FWWS Board as part of our ongoing dialogue with Washington wine industry stakeholders will be meeting with members of The Washington Wine Commission Board on December 11th.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the Wine Commission is a commodity commission organized for the purpose of promoting Washington Wine and is paid for by assessments on Washington wine and wine grapes sold. If you have questions or concerns you would like us to raise with the Commission your behalf, please send them to us in an email to We will report back to you on the outcome of our various discussions in the coming months.

As always we encourage you to email us on any areas of concern you would like us to address.


The FWWS Board

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winter Wine Event Opportunities for FWWS Members

FWWS Winter Tasting Opportunities Update

Dear FWWS Members,

Based on feedback from members we have made the following changes to the format of the Enumclaw event:
  • The requirement for donation of the first 400 pours was a bit too confusing and/or burdensome. This requirement has been dropped. Scrip (ticket) prices will be reduced to $1.00 each in order to provide more flexibility in pricing pours. The winery will receive half the price of the tickets they turn in ($0.50/ticket) and FWWS will retain the other half. Wineries will be able to price their pours at whatever number of scrip tickets they feel are appropriate to cover their bottle costs at $0.50/ticket. We will still be running a wine shop as noted in the original email.
  • An additional volunteer is not required. However, staff available for hire through David is limited. So we encourage you to provide a volunteer if you can.
  • The Chocolate Festival organizer is purchasing the tasting glasses and will handle all aspects of the glassware. The FWWS will not be purchasing or selling the tasting glasses.
The sign-up page is once again:

No changes have been made to the Georgetown event.

Wineries are signing-up as we email you! Don't miss out on this great opportunity and reserve a space now.

Thanks and hope to see you there.


The FWWS Board

Dear FWWS Members,

The FWWS Board has been busy working on some promotional opportunities to begin fulfilling the promise and opportunity that FWWS presents to be a promotional body as well as an advocacy organization. FWWS is well positioned as a winery association to be the beneficiary of these types of events (state law requires either a charitable or wine association beneficiary to allow such tastings).

Saturday January 9th
2nd Anniversary Party for Seattle Uncorked (6:00-9:00 pm)

Georgetown Studios

David LeClaire will be organizing this event as a fundraiser for FWWS. Seattle Uncorked wine club has decided to host this wine event at Georgetown Studios on Jan. 9th to be at the same time as the Art Attack. Many of you are familiar with David's events and know them to be extremely well run and well attended. This is the 2nd annual party for the largest wine club in the Northwest – they have over 8,000 members. The event will be limited to 200 attendees and will be only $20 since it is right after the holidays. Pictures from last year’s sold out event are at

Participating Wineries
Attendance will be exclusive to FWWS member wineries. First paid, first in line. Please RSVP by paying the $50 ASAP to reserve your winery’s spot. We may have to limit the number of wineries that can participate due to space constraints, so get your payment in early to avoid disappointment.

Fees and Requirements
A promotional fee of $50.00 per winery will be charged. Wine sample pours will be donated. You may register to participate by paying your $50 sponsorship fee at

Wine Sales
There will be wine sales area run by Lysle Wilhelmi and manned by FWWS volunteer staff and David’s staff. Wineries will receive 70% (wholesale) of the revenue from sales of their wines. FWWS will receive the other 30%. (Please let us know if you have a wireless credit card reader.) Once you have signed up to participate we will have you send the wines you plan to pour and sell to

Food & Music
As the ticket price is so low, we will not be providing food. Instead there will be one or more “mobile” food vendors in the parking lot. Possibly “Skillet” or someone similar. We will also have a “live band” – most likely “Two Buck Chuck” to make it lovely. They are not loud and are a lot of fun.

Friday - Sunday January 29th-31st
Enumclaw Wine and Chocolate Festival

FWWS has agreed to be the beneficiary for the wine garden in the Enumclaw Wine and Chocolate Festival. While this event has the possibility of being a very successful fundraiser for FWWS, it will be a significant challenge due to the length of the event and the expected turnout of 3,000-5,000 attendees. David LeClaire will also be helping us organize the wine garden at the event.

Participating Wineries
Participation will be open to FWWS wineries first. First paid, first in line. Please RSVP by paying the $50 ASAP to reserve your winery’s spot. The venue is quite large and up to 6,000 square feet of wine garden space will be available, so we may be able to accommodate all interested FWWS member wineries.

Fees and Requirements
An entry fee of $50.00 per winery will be charged in advance – this fee will pay for part of David’s services managing the 3 day event for us. Each winery must agree to participate in all three days. If you cannot operate your pouring station all three days, David will provide staff to cover for you at a price of $50 a day. You will also be required to provide a volunteer in addition to your pouring representative to assist with sales and logistics. Please contact the FWWS board and Lysle Wilhelmi if you want to discuss staffing and attendance, we will help in any way we can. You may register to participate by paying your $50 sponsorship fee at

Wine Donations & Compensation
Wineries will donate the first 400 tasting tickets they receive (assuming at least 20 wineries participate). Admission to the Wine Garden is free - 5 tickets (scrip) will be sold for $10. The first 400 tickets you collect will be counted as your donation. From there wineries will be compensated for wine sample pours on a ticket basis. You may set the ticket price for your wine (e.g. one ticket for a taste of your inexpensive wine, more tickets for more expensive wines). Once the fixed costs of the event are covered (by the first 400 tickets per winery) the winery will split the income per ticket they receive 50-50 with FWWS.

Wine Sales
There will be wine sales area headed by Lysle Wilhelmi and manned by FWWS volunteer staff (including the volunteer you will bring). Wineries will receive 70% (wholesale) of the revenue from sales of their wines. FWWS will receive the other 30%. (Please let us know if you have a wireless credit card reader.) Wines under $30 retail will sell much better at this kind of event, so think about keeping the cost down on what you feature.

The organizer of the Chocolate Festival has 300 glasses to sell from last year at $8 a piece. Once they have been sold, we will offer FWWS logo glasses for a similar price – we will order 500 of them. Participants will have the choice of buying a glass to drink their samples from, or to have free plastic cups to sip their wines from. While this is not optimal, with the possibility of 3-5,000 people attending, we can not commit to that level of wine glass purchases or rentals. Most participants will only buy one $10 worth of tickets and try 5 wines.

FWWS will get a special occasion license for both events and will apply for the licenses for both events. We hope these events will provide good exposure for member wineries and help spread the message of FWWS. Please respond to this email ASAP so we may gauge interest in either or both of these events (and send in your check to reserve a spot if you are sure you will participate).

Once again, don't hesitate to contact the FWWS board and Lysle Wilhelmi if you have questions or concerns about the requirements. We want to make sure we meet the needs of our members and we can work with you if you have specific concerns about the event.

We hope to see many of you at these events.
The FWWS Board

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WA State Winery Data

Have you ever wondered how much wine is produced by WA wineries? Or how each winery would breakout into categories of gallon production? Well, the FWWS board received WA state winery production data in April 2008 as part of its efforts in the Winery Tax Reporting Relief Act effort. Since we had the data handy, we decided to analyze the numbers and produce some graphs for your viewing pleasure. Keep in mind the data is 1 year old. There are more wineries now and the production numbers would be larger. But the general trends would probably be reinforced. Also keep in the mind the graphs we are going to show you are representative of annual gallons production. Here we go...

Distribution of Wineries by Gallons Sold
What we did was break down production into 6 different categories. Each category is basically a range of annual gallons produced. We then figured out how many wineries fall into each category.

Distribution of Wineries by "Craft" Designation
We have been using the term "craft winery" to identify wineries that produce less than 25,000 gallons per year. This is also a requirement to be eligible as a full regular member of the FWWS. Here's how wineries in WA state break down by whether or not they are a "craft" winery.

Actual Gallons Sold by "Craft" Winery Threshold
OK, so now we know how many wineries in WA state would be considered a "craft" winery. The following data and graph show you how many actual gallons of wine are produced annually by craft wineries versus non-craft wineries.

So there you have it: 94% of the wineries in WA state would be considered a "craft" winery. Our organization is striving to represent that 94% so that we can all succeed at the business we love. It's interesting to note 2 things. First, the other 6% of the wineries (non-craft wineries) produce about 94% of the actual gallons per year. Secondly, 1 winery tops the scale at producing almost 12 million gals. annually. The next biggest winery only produces approximately 2 millions gals. annually.
The board will try obtain updated data this year and perform the same kind of analysis. Thanks!

Monday, November 9, 2009

FWWS Seal and Friends of the Family Logo

FWWS members:

We hope your harvest was successful and that the freeze event didn't cause you too much stress.

Below you will find a link to two logos that have been developed for our organization. The first is a logo denoting your status as an FWWS member. The second will be for the use of our "Friends of the Family" category of consumer members. We hope you are as pleased with these images as we are.

As FWWS develops more consumer focused content, many logical uses for these graphics will occur. As a benefit of membership you are entitled to include these logos immediately on advertisements, stationary, point-of-sale material, bottle labels, and web content without limitation, as long as you remain a member in good standing. The image files will be available on our website at the following location:

Please note that the images are currently in Adobe Illustrator (AI) format. These images will be converted to high-resolution JPG and available at the same location within the next few days.


The Board

SWRA Online Fundraising Auction

This is a worthy fundraising event for our affiliate member, the Specialty Wine Retailers Association:

Just a quick note to let you know that the first ever Specialty Wine Retailers Association "Wine Without Borders" fundraising auction is now underway at

You can see the lots and register to bid by going here:

This first ever SWRA fundraising auction is meant to bring attention to the issue of free trade in wine and the work SWRA is doing to overturn protectionist laws that ban consumers and wine merchants for buying and selling wine, and to raise funds to help in that effort.

You can help this effort by doing any of the following:

1. Head to, bid on and pick up some AMAZING wines for your self via the auction.
2. Forward this email any and all of your wine loving friends and colleagues may also want to bid.
3. Put the link to the auction on your web page along with the logo that is attached.
4. Put a link to the auction on your Facebook page.
5. Help promote the auction by "tweeting out" the web address on Twitter and telling your followers about it.
6. Write about this movement and auction on your blog if you maintain one.

The online auction at WineCommune runs through November 19th.

If you are at all interested in the ongoing effort to open up states to allow the direct shipment of wine, and if you've ever wondered what you can do (besides making calls to lawmakers) to help the effort, then you have a chance now.

Don't hesitate to call or write me if you have any questions. And thank you very much for your help and support.


Tom Wark
Executive Director
Specialty Wine Retailers Association