A new law signed today by Gov. Inslee will increase the ability of regional organizations to host events that promote local wineries and draw tourists to a wide variety of local businesses.
“Groups like the Olympic Peninsula Winery Association pay excessively redundant and exorbitant fees every single time they host an event to showcase our terrific local wineries,” said Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim). “This law creates a single license that eliminates duplicative fees and excess administration.”
The special occasion license currently required for each winery participating in a local event — at a cost of $60 per event, per day, per winery — can cost a winery association more than $2,400 in total licensing fees for a single event. Senate Bill 6392 allows local wine industry associations to purchase a single, $700 license that will cover up to 12 events in a year — a considerable savings that should increase the ability of the state’s regional wine associations to host events that promote local wines and wineries.
Amy Harksell, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Winery Association, said the events not only promote local wines but draw attendees who frequent local restaurants, hotels and other industries reliant on tourist dollars. “Over 54 percent of attendees at our events last year were from out of the area,” Harksell said.
Don Corson of Camaraderie Cellars in Port Angeles said the streamlined license will benefit more than 1,000 wineries across the state in addition to his.
“Due to our current guidelines for self-isolation from coronavirus, the benefits of this law won’t be seen right away,” Van De Wege said. “But once we get through the pandemic, this change will help our local wineries right when they need it most — when they’re scrambling to rebound from the economic impacts of the pandemic.”