Wine producers are growing increasingly nervous as California becomes the first state in the country to declare a wine state.
In doing so, they’ll have a chance to push back against what they see as a misguided and misguided approach to winemaking.
California has become a wine-producing powerhouse for the past 50 years, thanks to a combination of factors, including cheap, abundant water, a low tax rate and a state-wide system of “tough on crime” laws that protect farmers from criminal activity.
The first of those laws was enacted in 1989, and in recent years, there has been a steady flow of new wine laws, with the biggest recent effort to ban wine sales in supermarkets coming in 2017.
While those laws have worked to reduce crime and improve wine quality, they have also come with some unintended consequences: wine producers say that California’s current wine laws create an unfair competitive disadvantage for producers and limit the amount of wine that can be produced on a farm.
“It’s been a huge boon to our wine industry and it’s been an enormous boon to California’s economy,” said Josh Parnes, chief executive of the Parnies Vineyards and Winery in San Francisco.
“There’s just a very large amount of growth that’s been happening.”
Parns said that while he’s proud of his vineyards’ success, his concern about the state’s wine laws stems from a misconception that growers and winemakers will be forced to close their farms because of the state wine laws.
“We’re just going to have to take it upon ourselves to do what’s right for our state,” Parnis said.
“And it’s going to be very difficult to do that with a law that puts so much pressure on growers to stay open.”
The state’s Wine Promotion Board, which regulates the sale of wine, recently passed a bill that would make it easier for farmers to sell their grapes and vineyards.
The bill would create a “wine promotion board” to regulate the sale and distribution of wine in California, similar to those in the District of Columbia and Maine.
The board, which is comprised of eight members appointed by the governor, would be tasked with regulating the sale, distribution and consumption of wine under the state law, as well as enforcing penalties against violators.
Under the bill, the board would also be empowered to take enforcement action against wine producers who fail to comply with state law.
Parnz said the board should be given more powers than it currently has under the current wine promotion laws, such as the power to impose fines on violators, restrict the sales of wines to specific locations or require that wine be tested for alcohol content.
“A lot of times we get in trouble for doing something wrong,” Pernis said of the Wine Promotion board.
“They should be able to enforce laws that they think are the right way to go.”
The law could also give the board more leeway to impose harsher penalties on producers who don’t follow the state rules.
The Board of Equalization is the state agency that oversees wine production in California.
The agency has a $40 million annual budget, and its mandate is to protect the interests of the wine industry.
“While the board has no authority to impose penalties, it does have the authority to take any enforcement action it deems necessary,” said spokeswoman Katie Wintemute.
“The board also has discretion to make recommendations to the Governor on whether to impose any additional requirements on a winery.”
While the Wine Promoting Board has jurisdiction over wine production, Wintet said it could also take enforcement actions against companies that fail to follow state law or who aren’t licensed.
“In order to protect consumers and wineries from unscrupulous practices, the Wine promotion board has the authority under state law to take actions that are consistent with the interests and values of the industry,” Wintema said.
A new law could further restrict the sale or distribution of wines in the state, including by allowing local governments to impose bans on the sale.
California is the only state that has banned wine sales from supermarkets.
The law, passed in 2017, was one of several that were designed to reduce alcohol consumption and increase wine quality in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 4,000 people and left more than 1.6 million sick.
Wine producers in the Bay Area and beyond have seen an influx of sales in recent months, with some even forecasting a significant uptick in production.
The wine industry has been particularly impacted by the state liquor laws, and some producers say the bans are forcing them to close more than ever before.
In January, wine producer Josh Perniss of Parniss Vineyards in Santa Cruz County told The American Prospect that he was looking for a new location to expand, with plans to open a wine bar in the city of Fresno.
“I’m trying to stay focused,” he said.
Pernisse said that he is not expecting to