Tara Good and Michael Kaiser Named Vice Presidents of WineAmerica

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Kaiser, mkaiser@wineamerica.org

Washington, DC, December 12, 2016—Long-time WineAmerica staff members Tara Good and Michael Kaiser have been elevated to the role of Vice President effective December 1.

Since joining WineAmerica in 2012, Tara Good has held the positions of Manager of Member Services and Director of Operations. Her new position as Vice President reflects her expanding responsibilities representing WineAmerica on Capitol Hill and across the country.

“Tara has been a leader in the organization,” says Trent Preszler, CEO of Bedell Cellars and Board Chairman of WineAmerica. “She has emerged as the industry expert on the important issue of music licensing. Her unique background demonstrates an ability to respond and adapt to the changing political climate in Washington D.C. and the needs of the American wine industry.”

Good entered government affairs as an assistant at the Distilled Spirits Council in Washington, D.C. A two-time recipient of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, she studied Arabic in Jordan and Oman. She previously managed Middle Eastern and North African cultural programming for the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles. A native of Sonoma County, California, Good received her B.A. from Fordham University in International/Inter-cultural Studies and Theater. Following graduation, she worked several years in New York City theater, including as an assistant on the Broadway show Golda’s Balcony. She received her M.A. from New York University in Performance Studies where she studied the intersection of religion and government.

Michael Kaiser joined WineAmerica in July of 2006 and has held a variety of positions with the organization over the years. Michael was first hired as the Manager of Regulatory Affairs, to assist WineAmerica with issues related to the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Since then he has held the positions of Director of Communications and most recently Director of Public Affairs. He also represents WineAmerica on the board of Free the Grapes and the National Grape and Wine Initiative.

“Michael has been an essential member of the WineAmerica team for over ten years,” says Chairman Preszler. “He has a wealth of knowledge in the regulatory and legislative realms, and will continue to be an indispensable resource to the American wine industry.”

Prior to joining WineAmerica, Kaiser provided research and logistical support to two Washington, D.C. based lobbying firms. He also handled compliance issues with a major political party. Michael earned his B.A. in American Studies and Political Science from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and a M.A. in Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C.

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WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 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.

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WineAmerica Appoints Jim Trezise as President in 2017

Washington, DC, December 5, 2016—The Board of Directors of WineAmerica has announced that wine industry veteran Jim Trezise will become the organization’s President starting in January 2017.

WineAmerica is the national organization of American wineries, representing wine producer members from 43 states with grassroots public policy advocacy in Washington, DC.  WineAmerica held its 2016 Fall Meeting in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and was honored to be joined by Congressional Representative Suzanne Bonamici and Senator Ron Wyden, who is spearheading legislation to reduce wine excise taxes.

“We’re delighted that Jim has agreed to assume a more formal role with WineAmerica,” said the organization’s Chairman of the Board Trent Preszler, PhD, who is CEO of Bedell Cellars on Long Island.  “Jim is well-known and highly respected throughout the American wine industry, as well as among influential public officials, and his commitment to our industry is unparalleled.”

Trezise is transitioning from his 31-year position as President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) to an increased role with WineAmerica, while remaining President of the International Riesling Foundation, judging in major wine competitions, and continuing his involvement with other wine industry organizations and activities.

He will orient his NYWGF successor, Mr. Sam Filler, in the first quarter of 2017 while undertaking increased involvement with WineAmerica during that time.  Jim has served on the WineAmerica  Board of Directors and Executive Committee  for over 20 years, and has devoted substantial additional  pro bono time to the organization in recent years.  He also serves on the Boards of several other major industry organizations such as FIVS, the National Grape & Wine Initiative, and Wine Market Council.

Over the years he has received several national awards for his contributions to the American wine industry, including the ‘Grand Award” of the Society of Wine Educators; the “Wine Integrity Award” from the Lodi Winegrape Commission; the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Society of Enology and Viticulture; and the “Perpetual Monteith Trophy” (Thomas Jefferson Cup) from the Vinifera Winegrowers Association.  He was also named one of “The 20 Most Admired People in the American Wine Industry” by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine; and one of the “Top 50 Movers and Shakers” by Wines & Vines magazine.

“This is a major step forward for WineAmerica,” said Caroline Shaw, WineAmerica’s immediate past Chair, and Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Jackson Family Wines, who first suggested this idea.  “Jim’s long experience with WineAmerica, success in public policy advocacy, familiarity with key public officials, and involvement with many other industry organizations will strengthen our impact.”

Jim will work closely with WineAmerica’s current staff, Director of Public Affairs Michael Kaiser, and Director of Operations Tara Good, along with government affairs counsel Meyers & Associates.  His involvement will be selectively targeted at opportunities which offer the most promise to advance the interests of the American wine industry.  He will travel to Washington, DC and other locations as needed, but will be operating from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York on a day-to-day basis.

“WineAmerica is truly a vital organization for advancing the interests of the American wine industry,” said Trezise. “While I have been involved for a very long time, I’m pleased that I will have more time to devote to its important activities in the future.”

WineAmerica’s Fall meeting was organized and hosted by Janie Brooks Heuck, owner of Brooks Wines, and included a special listening session with leaders of the Oregon wine industry, as well as updates on all public policy matters and the Presidential election outlook.  WineAmerica’s next meeting will be in Washington, DC in May  with a focus on educating the new Administration and legislators about the American wine industry’s priorities.

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Media Contacts:  Trent Preszler, trent@bedellcellars.com; Jim Trezise  jimtrezise@nywgf.org

TTB Issues Guidelines for Elimination of Bond Requirement

By Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs

11.8.2016

The TTB has issued initial guidelines for the elimination of the bond requirement for certain alcohol producers. As part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, wine producers that are expected to pay $50,000 or less in federal excise taxes in a year will be exempt from the federal bond requirement. The TTB was mandated by law to issue guidance on the new bonding rules by December 31. The guidance that was issued yesterday clarifies the procedures wine producers who qualify for the exemption will need to take in 2017. WineAmerica worked for the passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, and you can read our analysis of the provision here. 

The TTB has stated that existing producers who will meet the new bond exemption must inform the TTB they are eligible. Producers can start amending their permits to reflect the bond exemption after January 1, but they cannot do that until they have paid all of their 2016 federal excise taxes.  For NEW producers, if someone sends in a permit application before January 1, 2017 they will NOT be eligible for the bond exemption.
The TTB has updated the COLAs Online system to allow for easy amendment to existing permits. If wineries wish to amend their permits on paper, that is also an option.
WineAmerica expects to see more information about the bond exemption before the end of the year.
 For more information 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 43 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.

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WineAmerica Board Meets with Local Industry and Congressional Leaders in Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Michael Kaiser

Director of Public Affairs

202-223-5172

mkaiser@wineamerica.org

November 4, 2016

WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, just concluded its annual Fall Board of Directors Conference in Newberg, Oregon, highlighted by presentations from two influential Washington policymakers.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) spoke to a crowd of over a hundred wine industry leaders from Oregon and around the country. WineAmerica has been working tirelessly with Senator Wyden on his landmark Federal alcohol excise tax reform legislation. If passed, this historic initiative would provide an economic jolt to the wine industry and would create a business environment that would allow the industry to thrive for years to come. Representative Bonamici has been a key supporter of the Oregon wine industry, and is also a co-sponsor of the House version of Senator Wyden’s tax legislation.

“The fact that we had two of our leading Congressional champions at the WineAmerica conference illustrates the importance of the wine industry and WineAmerica in Washington, DC,” said said Trent Preszler, PhD, CEO of Bedell Cellars on Long Island, NY and current WineAmerica Board Chair. “We were honored to host Representative Bonamici and Senator Wyden.”

The two-day meeting included a listening session with leaders of the Oregon wine industry, election of a new member of the Board of Directors, and a broad-based discussion of wine policy matters.

New to this year’s Fall Conference was a special listening session featuring local Oregon wineries. A panel of Oregon wine industry leaders addressed the WineAmerica attendees and a contingent of their Oregon peers on the issues of importance to the local industry. The listening session provided a forum for the local industry to share thoughts and concerns on policy and regulatory matters with WineAmerica, the national voice for the industry.

The 2016 Board election resulted in the re-election of several existing Board members and welcomed a new representative for the Midwest region. WineAmerica is pleased to welcome Peter Hofherr, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of St. James Winery in St. James, Missouri. In addition to running Missouri’s largest winery, Peter is the current Chair of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, and serves on the Board of the National Grape and Wine Initiative as well as the Board of Governors of Missouri State University. Peter is also Assistant Director of the McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Missouri, Columbia; and has been the state’s Director of Agriculture and the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Missouri.

“We are thrilled to welcome Peter to the WineAmerica Board,” said Preszler. “His wealth of wine industry experience and public service makes him the perfect fit for WineAmerica and our grassroots public policy network.”

The WineAmerica Board also named two new Board officers to the Executive Committee. Debra Dommen is the Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs for Treasury Wine Estates. Debra was appointed to the WineAmerica Board earlier this year representing the California region, and will be serving as the new Treasurer of WineAmerica. Debra also serves on the Board of Family Winemakers of California and represents Treasury’s California businesses at the local, state and federal level. Janie Heuck is the Managing Director of Brooks Wine and represents Oregon on the WineAmerica Board. Janie has been appointed to the position of Secretary of the WineAmerica Board and will also serve on the Executive Committee. Janie is a Board member of the International Riesling Foundation and is on the media committee of the International Pinot Noir Celebration.

“Bringing on new Board members and appointing these new Board officers is another important step forward for WineAmerica. Our board is dynamic, talented and highly accomplished — the future of WineAmerica is bright,” said Preszler. “We would also like to acknowledge the service of Eddie O’Keefe from Chateau Grand Traverse in Michigan and Carolyn Wasem from Jackson Family Wines for their work on the Executive Committee. They will continue to serve on the WineAmerica Board as at-large members.”

The WineAmerica Government Affairs Committee reported on the status of key wine industry issues in Washington, DC. At the top of the list were federal alcohol excise tax reform and the ever-changing landscape of music licensing. Excise tax reform could happen as soon as next month, and WineAmerica will be leading the way to ensure its passage. The Board of Directors has adopted a plan to create greater transparency in the music licensing arena. WineAmerica will also be working to secure proper funding for the TTB, and in the new legislative year will be pushing for comprehensive immigration reform as well as a positive international trade agenda for the American wine industry.  

The conference also included a meeting of the WineAmerica State and Regional Association Advisory Council, featuring the annual roundtable discussion of wine policy issues across the country.

WineAmerica’s next conference “National Grape and Wine Policy Conference” will take place in Washington, DC on May 8-9, 2017, co-hosted with the Winegrape Growers of America.

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WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 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.

TTB Works to Simplify COLA Online Approval Process

By Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs

10.11.16

If you submit your TTB COLA approvals through the TTB online portal (and we highly suggest that you do) you will notice some changes in the system. COLA’s Online has recently been updated. The goal of the changes is to prevent labels from being returned for correction. The TTB is always looking to improve and streamline the approval process, and to that end, these changes were implemented. This, along with the extra funding WineAmerica worked to secure, will help reduce the turnaround time for label reviews. Currently wine labels are taking twelve calendar days for review, it is the goal of TTB to have that number down to ten calendar days by 2018. The notable changes to the wine label submission process are:

  • Four fields have been removed from the COLAs online form: alcohol content, net contents, wine vintage date and fax number fields have been removed. Those portions of the wine label will continue to be reviewed and must still be in compliance with the labeling rules.
  • For domestic wine there is a new tool to ensure the correct appellation of origin is used.

For more information about COLAs Online and other TTB online tools, please visit their online portal.

For more information 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 43 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.

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