Can I Store Unlabeled Wine in Taxpaid Areas?

Many wineries wonder whether they can store unlabeled wine bottles or “shiners” (perhaps for aging or as library wines) in storage areas outside of their bonded premises.  The short answer from the “TTB” is no.  Although TTB regulations provide that wines must be labeled before they are removed for “consumption or sale,” the TTB has […]

Groupon and Alcohol Discounts: Do They Mix in California?

The State of Massachusetts ABC recently held that Groupon’s online coupon discounts for alcohol at bars and restaurants run afoul of that state’s ABC regulation regarding happy hours. This case made clear that the many Groupon-type coupon marketing businesses currently in the market need to recognize the regulatory aspect of their offers when alcoholic beverages become […]

Avoiding Tax Reassessment in Transfer of Vineyard or Winery Properties

California real property is reassessed upon certain transfers causing higher (or lower) property taxes. Generally, a reassessment will occur when ownership of the property is transferred. Exclusions from reassessment are available for transfers of real property between spouses and between a parent and a child. Therefore, family owned vineyards and winery property may have been transferred down through […]

New Source of Funds Requirement for TTB Permit Applications

Those of you that may have recently filed an original TTB application as a brewery, winery, distillery, importer or wholesaler may have noticed that the TTB now requires “source of funds” documentation as part of the application materials.  The requirement simply requires disclosure as to the source of the funds you will be using to […]

TTB Permits Online – On the Road to More Efficient Federal Filings

The TTB’s new online permit system is now active and available for use. Although “Permits Online” is currently only available for New Winery Operations applications (Bonded Winery, Bonded Wine Cellar, Tax-Paid Bottling House) and New Wholesaler/Importer applications, TTB anticipates that the system will soon be available to accommodate amendments to existing permits and registrations.  And within […]

Winery and Vineyard Procedures for Hiring Seasonal Workers; Avoiding Problems in I-9 Audits by Immigration Services

Due to the necessities of hiring seasonal workers, many vineyards and wineries are faced with the task of verifying employees’ eligibility to work in the U.S. by maintaining Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification forms. Over the past year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has increased its audits of employers’ I-9 files.  The USCIS has also […]

Refusal of Trademark UPSLOPE for Beer Upheld by USPTO Based on Prior Trademark for UPSLOPE for Wine

Consistent with earlier precedent, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) upheld the Office’s refusal to register the trademark UPSLOPE for beer based on a prior registration for UPSLOPE for wine.  In considering the likelihood of confusion between trademarks, the TTAB limits the analysis to the trademarks as shown in […]

Using E-Verify to Ensure the Legality of Your Winery Workforce

E-Verify is the federal government’s electronic employment verification system.  It is an Internet-based system that allows an employer, using information reported on an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in the United States.  The E-Verify system is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership […]

Are Your Winery Interns "Employees" That Need to be Paid?

Recently, the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) issued an opinion letter concerning educational internship programs.  Specifically, the letter addressed whether California law would require employers to treat interns of a particular educational program as employees. The DLSE noted that there is no California statute or regulation which exempts trainees […]