Thursday, March 25, 2010

Drunk Driving Stats

Dear FWWS Members:

When a person is arrested for suspicion of DUI, the law enforcement officer may inquire where a violator has been drinking and note such information in their report. Are there flaws with the data? Probably. After all, people may be lying or are just too drunk to give the real answer. Regardless, this data is reported and some general conclusions and trends can be gathered.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer recently acquired this data and compiled some lists of where violators had been drinking. You can see the original Seattle PI blog post at Here are the links to their lists:

King county list for locations

WA state list for locations

The FWWS is proud to note that not one single winery is listed in the King county list. That means when drunk drivers were asked where they got drunk, zero said they got drunk at a winery. We are always interested in public safety issues in our org, so this data was welcome. We put family first in the FWWS. And we don’t want to see any new “In memory of…” signs on our roadways.

So to all you wineries, keep up the good work! Promote responsible drinking. Have servers get certified in Alcohol Server Training. Have taxi services on-call. Sell inexpensive one-time breathalyzers at your tasting rooms. We are all doing a great job and we want to make sure it stays that way.

As for the state-wide list, only one winery even gets listed. That’s not bad considering the total list contains 549 entries. And the winery is listed as #538.

Thanks for your time and keep up the good work!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rulemaking for Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST)

Dear FWWS members,

The FWWS Board has recently reviewed rules proposed for adoption by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) regarding Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST). We will be sending a letter of support/no concern to the WSLCB regarding these proposed rules. It has come to our attention however that many of you may be unaware of an important aspect of this rulemaking.

The proposed rules focus on changes to training programs for MAST providers but include adoption of a rule requiring that servers at winery off-site tasting rooms obtain a class 12 or 13 server license. We did not oppose this rule for two reasons; First, FWWS makes a strong distinction between valid public safety regulations such as MAST requirements, which we support, and economic regulations restricting trade in wine, which we oppose. Second, this provision is already contained in state law. RCW 66.24.170 which recently expanded the number of off-site winery tasting rooms contains the following section:

(4) A domestic winery licensed under this section, at locations separate from any of its production or manufacturing sites, may serve samples of its own products, with or without charge, and sell wine of its own production at retail, provided that: (a) Each additional location has been approved by the board under RCW 66.24.010; (b) the total number of additional locations does not exceed two; (c) a winery may not act as a distributor at any such additional location; and (d) any person selling or serving wine at an additional location for on-premise consumption must obtain a class 12 or class 13 alcohol server permit. Each additional location is deemed to be part of the winery license for the purpose of this title. At additional locations operated by multiple wineries under this section, if the board cannot connect a violation of RCW 66.44.200 or 66.44.270 to a single licensee, the board may hold all licensees operating the additional location jointly liable. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent a domestic winery from holding multiple domestic winery licenses.

As noted in section (d) above licensing pursuant to MAST is required in such tasting rooms. The proposed rulemaking formally adopts this existing "law" (RCW) into "rules" (Washington Administrative Code or WAC).

It is important to note that on-site tasting rooms (tasting rooms located at your bonded winery facility) always have been and continue to be exempt from MAST requirements. "Premises" licensed under Special Occasion Licenses (e.g. charitable events) are likewise exempt from MAST requirements.

We believe that MAST, like first aid and driver education training is something that is worth having as a pro-active tool, and recommend that all winery staff serving alcohol attend such a course. We urge those of you who serve in off-site tasting rooms who have not already taken such training to make plans to do so immediately and not to wait for the inevitable adoption of these rules. In Washington state, such training is offered by contractors and associations. These classes are widely available and economical. A list of providers can be found on the WSLCB website at the following link:

If you have trouble locating an opportunity for MAST near you, or if you have any questions about this rulemaking, please contact us at board[at]

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rattlesnake Hills Mining Comments

Dear FWWS Members,

The following letter was sent to the Yakima County Planning Commission in opposition to a zoning amendment proposal that would allow the development of a large gravel mining operation within the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. This letter was sent in response to a request for support from FWWS members located in the Rattlesnake Hills.

Rattlesnake Hills Mining Comments

We oppose this proposal for the following reasons:

• The proposal is a spot zone and was not included in the recently approved comprehensive County-Wide Mineral Resource Zone overlay.
• The economic pressure that such re-zones exert on neighboring properties are not compatible with continued agricultural use of the land.
• The associated dust, noise, visual disturbance, and particularly truck traffic, are not compatible with existing agricultural uses of neighboring land in general, and ag-tourism uses such as farm wineries in particular.


The Board

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Welcome New Member WineGirl Wines

I am pleased to welcome our newest member, WineGirl Wines, to the FWWS. Here is some information on them:

In September of 2007, WineGirl Wines began as a true garagiste style winery in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle, WA. We produced 100 cases in Ravenna under our Firá Label.

Since then, we have moved our nano-winery operations out to Sammamish, WA and we're growing. This year will be the debut of our reserve wines under the Kamari Black Label. And don't miss the latest unveiling of My Derby Wife Merlot!

WineGirl began making wine in 2001 when she made her first two cases of Pinot Noir. Since then, she has worked around the world at unique wineries studying the fine art of winemaking under the tutelage of renowned and inspiring winemakers. All the while, WineGirl has released six of her own vintages with plans to open a public tasting room in the spring of 2010.

And finally, WineGirl Wines is participating in a new adventure east of the Cascade mountains in sunny Chelan, WA. We've broken ground on an amazing ten acre plot of land with a spectacular view of the lake.

Welcome to the org!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Enumclaw Chocolate & Wine Festival

The Family Wineries of Washington State Board of Directors expresses its sincere thanks to all who made our participation in the Enumclaw Chocolate & Wine Festival so successful. The funds generated by wine sales at this event will go a long way toward supporting FWWS activities to update wine industry laws and regulations in our state.

2,921 festival tickets were sold over 3 days with 179 of those as child tickets. Friday had 419 attendees, Saturday 1,210, and Sunday 822.

Particular thanks go to the City of Enumclaw for their close cooperation and willingness to work together with FWWS for our first-time association. We hope this event is just the first in a long series of such between our two organizations, and we eagerly look forward to next year’s Chocolate & Wine Festival.

Many thanks also go to David LeClaire and his stalwart group of volunteers for their tireless support at the event and for the expert organization of it. Without this assistance, the event would not have run as smoothly as it did.

Huge thanks go to Lysle Wilhelmi for her tireless efforts in and skillful organization of the Wine Store. This hugely successful operation made buying wine painless for event attendees and was instrumental in the financially successful results for FWWS.

And lastly, FWWS thanks all the wineries and their representatives who participated in the event. You are the backbone of not only the event, but the whole reason for the existence of FWWS. We would very much appreciate feedback from everyone who attended in order that we can help to make this event even better in future. Please send your comments to board[at]

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Welcome New 100th Member Olalla Valley Vineyard & Winery

I am pleased to welcome our newest and 100th member!!!, Olalla Valley Vineyard & Winery, to the FWWS. Here is some information on them:

Olalla Valley Vineyard and Winery first started growing wine grapes in 1986. A small amount of wine was produced for home use. In 1998 it was decided to expand and grow some other varieties of grapes for home use and for family and friends. The first harvest in 2001 produced much more wine than could be consumed or given away. The concept of the Winery and Tasting Room was then conceived. Subsequently, more vines were planted and the vineyard expanded. Since the Vintner is of Croatian descendant, the wines created at the Vineyard carry the label of “Croatian Family”to honor the Croatian Families which brought their wine making skills from the Old Country to Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Bellingham, Port Orchard and other cities along the Puget Sound. Families with the names of Lovrovich, Bujacich, Morin, Babich and Malich. Our front label carries the names of most of the Croatian Families which immigrated to the Gig Harbor area.

Welcome to the org!

Welcome New Member CorkWest

I am pleased to welcome our newest industry member, CorkWest, to the FWWS. Here is some information on them:

CorkWest is the Pacific Northwest's only cork closure manufacturer. Located in the Port of Kennewick, we operate in a spacious facility with state-of-the-art cork treatment machinery. We receive select, hand-sorted cork from a single supply source. Corks are steam cleaned and peroxide washed, and then the peroxide is eliminated with a bisulphate treatment. Each small bale is rigorously tested, and data are provided for each individual bale being considered for your purchase.

We offer premium products at competitive prices. CorkWest can offer rapid turnaround times, free branding with no setup cost to the customer, and regional proximity.

Welcome to the org!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Regulation of SO2 Gas in Barrel Fumigation

Dear FWWS Member,

Most of you have recently received a notice from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) regarding the designation of sulfur dioxide gas used for barrel storage as a federally "Restricted Use Pesticide." Use of SO2 gas for barrel fumigation will require a license, special handling requirements, and record keeping.

As stated in the notice, the addition of SO2 to wine (whether via liquid, KMS, or gas) is not considered a restricted use under these new requirements. We have contacted Mr. Bruce Olson, the Pesticide Compliance Specialist at WSDA and compiled the following additional information.

1) This regulation will be phased-in over time.

Mr. Olson has indicated that no enforcement will be conducted over "the next harvest season" as labeling is still being developed (see below).

2) Use of the "old skool" sulfur discs or wicks which make SO2 gas by burning inside the barrel, will not be restricted by the new regulation.

Small wineries may want to weigh the efficacy and inconvenience of these methods against the new regulatory compliance requirements for use of compressed SO2 gas.

3) In the future, use of compressed SO2 gas will require a license.

The appropriate license is the Private Commercial Pesticide Applicator license and is administered by WSDA. Passing two tests is required. The first is the Laws and Safety test which is 100 questions long. The second is the Fumigation test which is 50 questions long. A score of 70% correct answers is required to pass each test. There is no cost for sitting for the test. Testing is conducted the last Tuesday of the month in Wenatchee. Testing is also available in Olympia, Yakima, Moses Lake and Spokane. A study guide is available from WSU extension.

4) Actual requirements for use and documentation will be label specific.

Presently there is only one product federally registered as compressed sulfur dioxide for pesticide use. It is not yet registered with the WSDA, and you probably don't use this brand anyway since this gas generally is supplied to wineries in Washington by gas suppliers. The WSDA is in contact with Oxarc Co. about having their compressed SO2 product registered. They are reportedly interested in pursuing this, but it is a lengthy process and will take some time to achieve. If you have a different gas supplier for compressed SO2 gas please email us at board[at] and we will follow up with them. The extensive regulations cited in the circular sent by WSDA are based on the existing federally registered product label and are indicative of what is likely to be on the label guidance of whatever product is eventually registered. The ultimate label requirements of an registered product will control the conditions of use and required documentation.

Bottom line, if you use compressed SO2 in your barrel maintenance program, don't panic but do pay attention. FWWS will provide updates on this issue as they are available. Please email us if you have any questions.


The Board

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Tax on Pesticides and Fertilizers

The included email appeal was sent by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.

The taxing of fertilizers and amendments is bad public policy since these are consumable inputs in the production of wine grapes and therefore are legitimate "cost of goods sold" components in a finished product.

The exemption for registered organic inputs seems to serve no logical purpose except perhaps to justify the taxing of non organics as a punitive measure designed to reduce their use. We believe the numerous ongoing industry initiatives such as Salmon Safe, Lodi Rules, LIVE, Vinnea, etc. are ample evidence that the industry is already serious about reducing injudicious use of such treatments.

The addition of sales tax to major inputs such as these will inevitably increase economic pressures on wineries whether or not they grow their own grapes. We urge you to follow the directions in the included email and take a few moments to contact your legislator and express your opinion on this matter.


The FWWS Board

From: Vicky Scharlau
To: Vicky Scharlau
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 2:50 PM
Subject: LEGISLATIVE ALERT From WAWGG: new tax on pesticides, fertilizer


WE NEED YOUR INPUT... Senate Bill 6873 would eliminate the sales tax exemption for pesticides and fertilizers for agricultural producers unless they are registered organic products.

Because this proposal is moving so quickly, WAWGG lobbyist Jean Leonard is reaching out to key legislators in an attempt to keep this from moving forward. We’ll keep you posted.

Manufacturers are not charged sales tax on items like aluminum or other inputs because it is an input to manufacturing. Pesticides and fertilizers should be treated as inputs as well. Washington agriculture is exported around the world. Agriculture can help lead Washington out of the recession, but not if the legislature unfairly targets agriculture with a tax on inputs. While important, organic production is a quite small portion of Washington agriculture.

Please contact your legislators NOW! Let them know how an 8% sales tax will affect your business.

Click here to find your legislator:

Call the Hotline and leave your legislator a message at:


Callers to the Hotline can leave a brief message for their district legislators or for the Governor or Lt. Governor on issues of concern or on questions they may have about bills or laws. Messages are forwarded electronically to the appropriate individuals. When leaving a message with the Hotline, please be prepared to give your name and street address. Hotline is open from 8 AM to 8 PM Monday through Friday and from 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturday.

Click to find your legislator's name for the e-mail form: