WineAmerica and ASCAP Partner to Introduce New Music License for Wineries

WASHINGTON, DC, (June 15, 2017)— WineAmerica, the national organization of American wineries, and ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, are working together to simplify music licensing compliance for the American wine industry with the introduction of a unique music license created specifically for wineries.

The wine industry is unique: many wineries and vineyards are all-in-one agriculture, manufacturing, and retail establishments. ASCAP undertook a reevaluation of their winery license and crafted a new license that better serves the wine industry’s needs while ensuring compensation for its music creators. WineAmerica will work closely with ASCAP to administer the license to its member businesses and will provide an additional 10% discount to WineAmerica members.

ASCAP is a membership association that operates on a non-profit basis and represents more than 600,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. ASCAP’s mission is to license the public performances of their songs, collect those license fees, and ensure that songwriters are reasonably compensated for their work, a principle which WineAmerica fully supports. Under copyright law, when a venue such as a winery, restaurant or other establishment plays recorded, or offers live performances of, copyrighted music, it must purchase a license in order for the songwriter to be paid.

“WineAmerica has taken the leadership role on this issue, thanks to the diligent efforts of Vice President Tara Good,” said WineAmerica President Jim Trezise. “The new winery-specific license is simple and affordable, and WineAmerica members save even more.”

“A large number of wineries sincerely want to offer live music as part of their visitor experience, but the terms of the license did not meet their needs,” said Good. “We applaud ASCAP for recognizing this and for modifying their license so that it works for our establishments. We’re looking forward to collaborating with ASCAP to ensure that visitors can continue to enjoy music as much as they do the wines during their winery visit.”

“Music is more than just an art form for music creators – it’s their livelihood. It’s how they put food on the table and send their kids to school,” said Vincent Candilora, ASCAP EVP of Licensing. “WineAmerica recognizes the importance of paying music creators to use their music, and understands that it is both the lawful and right thing to do. We’re proud to work together with WineAmerica to develop a solution that works for wineries and for our music creators.”

The new winery license:

  • Lowers the square footage basis for determining license fees for smaller wineries. Wineries up to 3,750 square feet will pay the lowest fees.
  • Removes the requirement to purchase separate licenses for different venues on a winery’s property (e.g., tasting room versus restaurant);
  • Separates the live music and recorded music options, allowing the winery to choose just one or both;
  • Offers a seasonal discount range;
  • Provides a special reduced price for wineries under 5,000 gallons a year that host 6 or fewer performances per year.

In addition to the savings that wineries will gain from the new license, WineAmerica members are eligible to receive an additional 10% reduction on their licensing costs. WineAmerica is also available to help wineries assess whether licensing music is right for their business needs and to help shepherd them through the process. To learn more visit www.wineamerica.org/music or contact Tara Good at tgood@wineamerica.org. For additional questions ASCAP has a toll-free number for business owners to ask questions or concerns: 1-800-505-4052 (option 4).

About WineAmerica

WineAmerica is the national voice of the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 41 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations. As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

About ASCAP

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With over 600,000 members representing more than 10.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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Media Contacts:

WineAmerica: Tara Good, 202-223-5175, tgood@wineamerica.org

ASCAP: Cathy Halgas Nevins, 212-621-8414, cnevins@ascap.com

Majority of US House of Representatives Support Federal Excise Tax Reform

218 House Members Co-sponsor Landmark Tax Reform Bill

by Michael Kaiser, Vice President

6.12.17

The House of Representative’s support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 747) has reached a majority of Members. Last week Representative David Rouzer, a Republican representing North Carolina’s 7th District, became the 217th Member of the House to sign on as a co-sponsor with Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-1) who introduced the bill in January.

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act was originally introduced in 2015. This bi-partisan bill seeks to lower the tax burden for all wineries, breweries and distilleries in the United States. It is the first bill proposed that would reform the federal excise tax system for all three major alcohol commodities  and is a major part of WineAmerica’s legislative agenda. A companion bill (S. 236) has also been introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and currently has 45 co-sponsors.

H.R. 747 contains the following provisions for wine:

Expands Tax Credits for All Wineries

Under present law, wine is subject to an excise tax of between $1.07 and $3.40 per gallon, based on alcohol content and carbonation level. Qualifying small domestic wineries producing 250,000 wine gallons or less are eligible for a tax credit (Small Producer Tax Credit) generally equal to 90 cents per gallon on the first 100,000 gallons produced, with that benefit phasing out between 150,000 gallons and 250,000 gallons. H.R. 747 would remove the phase out and replace the credit with a new tiered credit system for wine produced in the U.S., or imported, as follows:

  • 1.00 credit for the first 30,000 wine gallons produced
  • $0.90 credit for the next 100,000 wine gallons produced (30,001 to 130,000)
  • $0.535 for the next 620,000 wine gallons produced (130,001 to 750,000)
  • All wine produced over 750,000 gallons will be taxed at the regular rate
  • Removes the existing prohibition against claiming the credit for naturally sparkling wines

Expands the Alcohol Threshold for Table Wine

Under current law, still wine is taxed at different rates based on alcohol content. Still wine containing not more than 14% alcohol by volume is taxed at $1.07. Still wine above 14% and less than 21% alcohol by volume is taxed at $1.57 per gallon. It is important to note that for labeling purposes alcohol content in wine may vary from the stated amount within certain tolerances, however no such tolerances exist for tax purposes. The bill would provide that wines up to 16% alcohol by volume qualify for the $1.07 tax rate, raising the threshold for table wine from 14% to 16%.

Increases Carbonation Tolerance Levels for Low Alcohol Wines

Current law provides a tolerance for still wine of 0.392 gram of carbon dioxide per hundred milliliters of wine, which is generally taxed at $1.07 per wine gallon. Wines exceeding this limitation are taxed as “sparkling wine” at either $3.30 or $3.40 per wine gallon. The bill would increase that tolerance to 0.64 gram of carbon dioxide per hundred milliliters of wine for wines produced primarily from grape or solely from honey and water (mead), which do not contain any other fruit and contains no more than 8.5% alcohol by volume.

WineAmerica has been working diligently with our alcohol association partners, as well as other related commodities, to pass the bill. The legislation is supported by the Brewers Association, Beer Institute, WineAmerica, Wine Institute, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, American Craft Spirits Association, Hop Growers of America, National Barley Growers Association, National Barley Improvement Committee, Winegrape Growers of America, Can Manufacturers Institute, and Glass Packaging Institute.

A complete list of sponsors for the House version of Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 can be found here. Details about the Senate version can be found here.

For more information about the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, please contact Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs, mkaiser@wineamerica.org.

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WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 41 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations. As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.