Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



State Government & Tribal Affairs Committee

HB 1641

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning domestic winery licensing.

Sponsors: Representatives Hunt, Taylor and Pettigrew.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Creates separate Class A and Class B domestic winery licenses in place of a single domestic winery license.

Hearing Date: 1/25/12

Staff: Cece Clynch (786-7195).


State Laws. The term "wine" means any alcoholic beverage obtained by fermentation of fruits (grapes, berries, apples, et cetera) or other agricultural product containing sugar, to which any saccharine substances may have been added before, during, or after fermentation, and containing not more than 24 percent of alcohol by volume. This includes sweet wines fortified with wine spirits, such as port, sherry, muscatel, and angelica that do not exceed 24 percent of alcohol by volume and not less than 0.5 percent of alcohol by volume.

Washington liquor laws include the following definitions:

Neither the term "produce" nor any of its derivatives is specifically defined.

Washington licenses "domestic wineries". This license allows for the "manufacture of wine in Washington state from grapes or other agricultural products." This allows licensees to sell wine of their own production at retail for on or off-premises consumption, and to act as a distributor for wine of their own production. They are also permitted to serve samples at a limited number of other locations, and may sell wine for off-premises consumption at qualifying farmers markets.

Federal Laws. Federal liquor laws, as administered by the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), include the following definitions:

Summary of Bill:

Instead of a single "domestic winery" license, two licenses are created:

The term "production" is defined in statute to mean, with respect to wine, the creation of wine by fermentation in or on Class A domestic winery premises. The term includes wine produced by a predecessor in interest at such licensed premises.

Tax statutes that provide exemptions for certain qualifying property, including qualifying farmers markets as referred to in the liquor laws, are amended only to correct the reference to the appropriate section of the law.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on January 23, 2012.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.