Wiggins bill signed regarding nonprofits and wine events

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed Senate Bill 157, authored by state Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa), which enacts the "Nonprofit Organization Equal Participation Act," for the purpose of providing continuity and equal participation for nonprofit organizations in sanctioned wine-related events, while also providing orderly direction for wine producers.

This bill is follow-up legislation to SB 108 (Wiggins), which Schwarzenegger signed in 2007.

"That legislation expanded the number of nonprofit organizations that can hold wine tasting events where wineries can take orders for the purchase of their wine after the event," Wiggins said. "My new bill will create a single set of nonprofits, the same as those included in SB 108, for two other related statutes in current law.”

Under existing law, a person issued a winegrower's license is authorized to conduct wine tasting 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 when a wine tasting is held off-premises and at an event sponsored by a nonprofit organization, the winegrower would be permitted to accept orders for the sale of wine when the sales transaction is completed at the winegrower's premises. They cannot fill orders at the nonprofit event.

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Act permits wine orders to be taken at wine tasting events held by eleven types of nonprofit organizations described in the Revenue and Taxation Code: 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). The ABC Act also permits licensed winegrowers to apply to the Department of ABC for a permit to sell bottled wine at festivals, state, county, district, or citrus fairs, civic or cultural celebrations, or similar events sponsored by eight types of nonprofit organizations described in the Revenue and Taxation Code (e.g., Section 23701a, Section 23701b, 23701d, 23701e, 23701k, 23701l, 23701r, and 23701w).

Wiggins, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on California's Wine Industry, represents the premium wine-growing counties of Lake, Mendocino, Napa & Sonoma.

Her bill, SB 157 does the following: