Senate Committee approves bill for nonprofits in sanctioned wine-related events

SACRAMENTO – the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization voted unanimously Tuesday to approve SB 157, legislation by North Coast Senator Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) to enact the “Nonprofit Organization Equal Participation Act.”

Wiggins, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on California’s Wine Industry, represents several of the state’s premium wine producing regions.

“Over the past several years there has been a patchwork of legislation allowing various nonprofit organizations to participate with winemakers at their charity events,” said Wiggins. “SB 157 will end the confusion and provide a common and comprehensive list of nonprofit organizations that will be able to partner with winemakers at charity events.”

SB 157 allows eleven categories of nonprofits to participate in the wines sales permit statute and events where winemakers can donate and pour wine, expanding the numbers of nonprofits able to partner with wine producers to provide attractive events for consumers.

According to Wiggins, the nonprofits “can derive more income for important activities that benefit local groups and individuals, while wine producers also gain another brand-building opportunity and the potential to sell some wine in collaboration with a worthwhile cause.”

Under existing law, a person issued a winegrower’s license is authorized to conduct wine tastings of wine produced or bottled by, or produced and packaged for, the licensee, either on or off the winegrower’s premises.

Existing law also provides that wine may not be sold or orders solicited, when a wine tasting is held off the winegrower’s premises at an event sponsored by a private nonprofit organization, although winegrowers are permitted to accept orders for the sale of wine when sales transactions are completed at the winegrowers’ premises.

Current law authorizes the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to issue a wine sales event permit to allow a licensed winegrower to sell bottled wine (produced by the winegrower) at festivals, county fairs, civic/cultural celebrations or similar events held by organizations operated for nonprofit purposes.

Existing law provides that each permit shall be valid for a maximum of five consecutive days at that particular event and limits sponsorship of such events to certain nonprofit organizations defined in the Revenue and Taxation Code.

The measure will apply to the following nonprofit organizations described in the Revenue and Taxation Code as follows: Section 23701a (agricultural, horticulture or labor groups); 23701b (fraternal orders); 23701d (public safety, literary or educational groups, amateur sports, or humanitarian corporations); 23701e (chambers of commerce, or real estate boards); 23701f (civic leagues); 23701g (social organizations); 23701i (voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations); 23701k (religious corporations); 23701l (domestic fraternal societies); 23701r (political organizations); and, 23701w (veteran’s groups).


Last September, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 108, a Wiggins bill to expand the list of non-profit organizations allowed to host wine tastings and wine orders at their charitable events to include civic leagues, social organizations and voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations.