Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Regulatory Update - Some Good News, Some news of Concern

Dear FWWS Member,

We are writing to update you on two recent Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) Rulemakings:

Some good news - “Below Cost” sales remain legal.
Earlier this summer the WSLCB heard a proposal to eliminate an existing provision of state law that allows a retailer to sell wine below their cost of acquisition for the strict and limited purpose of meeting a competitor’s price. FWWS opposed eliminating this provision. In our reasoning, this rule had little effect or purpose under the old pricing regime where pricing was uniform as to quantity and point of delivery. Now that quantity discounts and other pricing considerations are allowed, this provision is meaningful in that a retailer’s cost of acquisition may actually be higher than that of a competitor. While the floor on pricing remains the competitor’s cost of acquisition, the existing rule gives a retailer the option of meeting that competitor’s price rather than losing a customer. A majority of Liquor Board members agreed, and the rule remains in place. Our sincere thanks to those of you who submitted comments in favor of retaining the current rule.

Some news of Concern – Protections on NSF checks eliminated
The WSLCB recently adopted a change of WAC 314-13-020 as part of a larger package of rule updates to implement Initiative 1183. While minor changes to this section were necessary (such as adding the words ”spirits retail licensee” in the appropriate places) the rule change also struck two existing sections of WAC 314-13-020. This latter change, which has nothing whatsoever to do with implementing initiative 1183, removes the below highlighted sections 2) and 3) from WAC 314-13-020 which previously read as follows:

Any transaction reported as having nonsufficient funds (NSF) will be considered an extension of credit, in violation of RCW 66.28.010(1). If a transaction is reported as NSF:

(1) The retailer must pay the full amount of the transaction to the industry member by 3 p.m. on the first business day following receipt of the NSF report.
(2) If the retailer does not make payment by this time, the industry member must report the NSF transaction to the their local board enforcement office by 5 p.m. the next business day following receipt of the NSF report.

(3) The local board enforcement office will contact the retailer, who will have until 3 p.m. the next business day to pay the NSF transaction. If the retailer does not pay the industry member by this time, the board will issue an administrative violation notice to the retailer.

(4) Until the NSF transaction is paid:

(a) The industry member who received the NSF transaction will not deliver any beer or wine to the retailer; and

(b) It is the responsibility of the retailer to not receive any beer or wine from any industry member.

Since we have consistently advocated the refocusing of the LCB away from regulation of commerce and onto regulation of public safety, it might appear at first blush that the reduction in LCB enforcement is a step in the right direction. However, we believe that this constitutes a half measure and that the LCB  should either regulate private economic activity and enforce the rules as they have in the past, or they should get out of regulating the economy entirely. Under the revised rules, wineries are still prohibited from extending any credit to retailers, and remain subject to sanction for doing so. Therefore we do not believe that the unilateral elimination of specific LCB enforcement provisions for NSF checks from retailers is a balanced and positive change to the rules.

We will be contacting the WSLCB in order to determine what, if any, specific penalties still apply to those retailers issuing NSF checks and what avenues of redress remain through WSLCB enforcement for wineries receiving such checks. We will update you on what we find out.

Your FWWS Board

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family Wineries of Washington State Wine Gala

For tickets go to

Join some of Washington State's premier artisan wineries at famous Ray's Boathouse on Shilshole Bay for a magic evening of fine wine. This event benefits Family Wineries of Washington State whose member wineries will pour their finest wines perfectly paired with plentiful appetizers from Ray's kitchen and sunset over the Olympic Mountains.

Participating Wineries:
Convergence Zone Cellars
Ginkgo Forest Winery
Golden Ridge Cellars
Lost River Winery
Michael Florentino Cellars
Northwest Cellars
Northwest Totem Cellars
:Nota Bene Winery
Willis Hall Winery
Wilridge Winery

Appetizer Menu:
Assorted cheeses and vegetarian spreads served with artisan breads and flatbreads
Dungeness crab cakes with aioli
Ray’s salmon mini burger with tartare coleslaw
Tomato ratatouille tartlets
Chicken mole on soft corn pancake
Rosemary scented tenderloin of beef
Potatoes with roasted red pepper dip

The event will also include the presentation of FWWS first annual Wine Integrity Awards honoring a citizen and a legislator who have shown great personal integrity in supporting small family wineries.

Ticket price includes: Washington State sales tax, wine, food, and a Riedel crystal tasting glass. Only 150 tickets are available.
Tickets are also available for purchase by check to: “FWWS”. Include your name and email address. Leave with participating winery or mail to, FWWS, 4251 NE 88th St, Seattle, WA 98115. For more information please call 509-996-2888.

Friday, August 3, 2012

FWWS Wine Gala at Ray’s Boathouse September 20, 2012, SAVE THE DATE AND SAVE YOUR SPOT!

Dear FWWS Members,

August is upon us and it's time to lock in our 2012 FWWS Member winery tasting at Ray's Boathouse. This promises to be a fantastic event and a great opportunity to showcase your wines in a beautiful venue overlooking Shilshole Bay and the Olympic mountains, and paired with delicious food. Those of you who attended in 2010 probably remember a great event. This year we are moving the date to September due to feedback that many potential attendees were on summer holidays in late July. We estimate that we can accommodate no more than 20 member wineries, first come first served so commit to your spot now by emailing us at .

Event details are as follows:

Location: Ray’s Boathouse 6049 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle

Date/Time: 6:00-9:00 PM Thursday September 20, 2012 (Winery Load in at 5:15)

Table Fee: None.   This event is open to dues paid FWWS members only

Insurance Certificate: None Required. FWWS carries event insurance for member wineries.

Pouring wines: Contrary to our usual practice and based on the expense of the venue and the fact that this is a main fundraiser for FWWS, wineries will be donating pouring wine for this event. A maximum of three wines per winery please.

Food: Selection of heavy appetizers prepared by Ray’s. Sample menu available

Ticket Price: $55 (Includes 9.5% WSST and Gratuity)

Glassware: Printed Riedel “Degustazione” tasting glasses are included in the ticket price

Wine Store: We will stock up to three wines per winery at the Wine Store. FWWS will pay your wholesale cost on wine sold at the end of the event. This year we will be making a special effort to sell more wines through the store by using sales runners etc. We hope to have wineries wine selections far enough ahead of time to offer pre-sales with a 10% discount on wine purchased by attendees before the day of the event. We will also be offering 10% case discounts.

Dump Buckets and Ice (not ice buckets) will be provided

Hero’s of Washington Wine Awards: A brief award ceremony will honor our legislator of the year and a Legend of Washington Wines recipient.

The next and most important task is to sell tickets to the event. We believe this event is very attractively priced at $55/person, which includes WSST, tasting of our fine wines, tapas, gratuity, and a Riedel tasting glass. A sample menu and event flyer will be forwarded to attending wineries for you to print and share with your customers. Tickets can be purchased by check made out to FWWS (with "Ray's Tasting" in the Memo line) sent to FWWS 4251 NE 88th St. , Seattle , WA 98115. We hope to have a link via pay pal available for sales in the near future. Please include the customer’s name and number in their party (for the will call entry list) as well as an email contact for offering pre-sales of wines and event updates.

 This event benefits not only individual Member wineries by showcasing their wines, but is an important fundraiser for the organization as a whole. We need to sell this event out (150 tickets). We therefore appreciate all members, even those unable to attend, including event and ticket information in their marketing media. Other event details will be available at:

 Future emails on this subject will be sent to participating wineries only. Please contact the Board with any questions about the event. looking forward to a great evening!


 The FWWS Board