WineAmerica Member to Testify Before Congress

U.S. Wine Industry on Country of Origin Labeling

June 24, 2015

Washington, D.C. - Thursday, June 25th, the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the Country of Origin Labeling dispute.  A list of U.S. commodities, including wine, faces over three billion dollars in tariffs from Canada and Mexico. WineAmerica Board Member and New York Wine and Grape Foundation President, Jim Trezise, will speak to the effect that these tariffs would have on the wine industry. (See list of witnesses)

On May 18, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body issued their final ruling against the United States country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for muscle cuts of meat. If the requirements are not repealed by the U.S. Government, Canada and Mexico will retaliate on a variety of American exports to Canada, including wine. Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed a bi-partisan bill repealing the COOL requirements. The Senate now begins its work on this issue. (Read more: House Passes COOL Repeal)

With the August congressional recess looming, and with the WTO review period ending on August 17, the Senate must act quickly. The Canadian and Mexican governments have made it clear that, short of a full repeal of the COOL meat labeling rules, the tariffs will commence. If the COOL rules are not repealed, the tariffs will go into effect as early as September and will last at least two years.

WineAmerica, working with our partners at the Wine Institute, proposed to the Senate Agriculture Committee that Jim Trezise represent the wine industry at this hearing. His testimony will stress the need for swift legislative action and the need for full repeal. Additionally, Trezise will address the importance of the Canadian market for New York and other regions. Canada is the largest export market for U.S. wine, and the proposed tariffs will have a devastating impact on the the American wine industry.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. EST. The Senate Agriculture live streams its hearings through their website. If you would like to watch the hearing, the live stream can be found here: Country of Origin Labeling and Trade Retaliation.

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.

Questions? Contact Michael Kaiser at

COOL in the News:



House Passes Country of Origin Labeling Repeal

WineAmerica Applauds Quick Action of House on Country of Origin Labeling

June 11, 2015

Washington, D.C. – WineAmerica commends the House of Representatives on last night’s passage of H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015. The bill passed with 300-131 votes. This bipartisan bill repeals the country of origin labeling requirements for beef, pork and poultry. The swift passage of the bill is the first step in avoiding costly retaliatory tariffs on wine and other products from Canada and Mexico.

On May 18, the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body issued their final ruling against the United States country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for muscle cuts of meat. If the requirements are not repealed by the U.S. Government, Canada and Mexico will retaliate on a variety of American exports to Canada, including wine. In total, Canada has proposed $3 billion per year in tariffs to the WTO as retaliation.

Read More: U.S. Wine Industry Facing Steep Tariffs from Canada

Canada is the largest foreign market for American wine. Last year U.S. wine exports to Canada reached $487 million, a 7% increase from 2013. Retail sales for American wine in Canada now eclipse $1 billion. In 2013 the U.S. was the second largest exporter of wine to Canada, with a 16% market share among wine imports sold in Canada.

The preliminary Canadian plan would place a tariff on wine based on the value of the product entering the country. For example, a wine with a $10 import value would be hit with a $10 tariff, doubling the cost of the wine sent into the country. Apart from the immediate financial loss, the American wine industry could face damaging long term effects. Raising the price of a bottle of a U.S. wine will hinder competition with other wine regions, notably South Africa and Australia. The United States could lose shelf space that would take years to regain.

Tariffs will largely affect California wineries, but smaller, family owned wineries in Oregon, Washington, New York and Michigan will also be impacted. In 2014, Washington wineries exported a total of $7.5 million in total wine sales into Canada. Oregon sent almost 22,000 cases of their wine across the border in 2014.

WineAmerica worked closely with industry partners to represent the wine industry on this issue. Staff met with members of Congress, sent an industry letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, co-signed by members of its State and Regional Association Advisory Council (SRAAC), and assisted with the Congressional Wine Caucus’s ‘Dear Colleague Letter.’

WineAmerica urges the Senate Agriculture Committee to work quickly on this bipartisan issue. The American wine industry cannot afford to have costly tariffs placed on our products in such an important market and the Senate needs to act as quickly as possible.

For more information about COOL visit View list of American commodities potentially targeted by Canada.

Questions and inquires should be directed to Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs at

Music Licensing Guidelines

Music licensing fees is an issue affecting wineries across the country. WineAmerica has consulted with its membership, regional associations, and experts in the field to create a document answering your questions.
This document is available to WineAmerica members in the Members Only section. Members should login and will find the document listed on the left hand bar of their winery’s homepage. If you have trouble with your login or would like to receive a PDF by email, contact Tara Good, Director of Operations at
It is also available to wineries who are members of one of the State and Regional Associations Advisory Council members. See if you local association is a member. Reach out to your local association head or contact Tara Good, Director of Operations at
Topic covered include:
  • What is music licensing?
  • Why do I need a music license?
  • When is a winery liable?
  • Are there exemptions?
  • What should I do when contacted by a music licensing organization?
Questions? Contact Tara Good, Director of Operations at

Wine Comes From…

Crabapples, Pineapples and Other Adventures

Wine, few other libations can elicit as much praise as it does debate. More than any other drink that humanity has had the fortune of enjoying, wine is rife with rules and norms regulating how it is produced, served, and consumed. However, some of us aren’t very knowledgeable on grape varieties, their flavor profiles, or how to even drink them. Sometimes these uncertainties intimidates us and limits our enjoyment of the drink. However, many of us have the same questions:

“What’s the difference between rose and blush?”

“Am I a philistine for being unable to taste the difference between a 2012 and 2013 vintage?”

“Will my friends and family disown me for drinking a Chardonnay with my T-bone?”

Wine is an art form and a continuous learning experience—from the neophyte to sommelier. While certain practices are adhered to, nothing is set in stone and you should ultimately do whatever it is that you enjoy.

Discussing everything there is to know about wine would take a lifetime. But, we need to start somewhere. Where better to start than what it’s made from?  In the first of what we hope will be a series of educative installments regarding the wine industry, WineAmerica presents: Wine Comes From…

Wine comes from this:


No, this was not a mistake made by our questionably competent intern. We are showing a pineapple to illustrate a point. Most people believe wine is exclusively made from grapes. This is only the tip of the iceberg.  From fruit wine, to mead, and cider, all these varieties fall under the umbrella of “wine”.  If you don’t believe us, check out the TTB’s definition here.

Don’t be dismayed if you weren’t even aware of these non-traditional wines. Whether this shortfall of knowledge reflects an adherence to traditionalism, lack of interest, or indecipherability of federal regulation we owe it to ourselves to become more educated about everything wine has to offer.

Non-traditional wine represents the fastest growing sector of the domestic wine industry. Demand for these wines has grown by more than 89% in the last year alone. Cider has more than tripled in gross production and value.

Much like wine grape varieties speak to the pride and place of origin, non-traditional fruit wines also carry their own cultural and historic significance. America’s love affair with non-traditional wine dates back to the first English settlers. Finding nothing but inedible crabapples, colonists quickly proceeded to import English apple seeds and cultivate cider-apples. While apple trees had little trouble taking to New England soil, it was significantly more difficult to cultivate barley and grains for beer and spirits. Cider became the beverage of choice for early America, with people like John Adams drinking a tankard every morning.

Preference for this cultural staple ebbed and flowed, but Prohibition dealt the non-traditional wine industry a near irreconcilable blow.  Fruit wines were particularly hard-pressed to recover from Prohibition and the Temperance Movement. While many breweries, distilleries, and winemakers survived these dark times by producing a range of goods from sodas to refrigerated cabinets, cider orchards and fruit wine producers had less flexibility. In addition to outlawing fruit based wines, the Volstead Act limited production of sweet cider to 200 gallons a year per orchard. Prohibitionists burned countless fields of trees to the ground and surviving orchards were forced to begin cultivating sweeter (non-cider) apples. American affinity for cider and fruit wine struggled to return following the repeal of Prohibition.  While breweries, distilleries, and wineries could go back into production almost immediately, it would take decades to convert the orchards back from snacking and cooking apples to wine and cidermaking apples.

Now almost a hundred years later, the growth of cider and fruit wine—or rather, the comeback—is both heartening and astounding. Whether its resurgence has piggybacked off the farm-to-table movement or is a reflection of changing consumption trends for millennials; a sizable contingent of consumers are more interested in seeking out uniquely local flavors.

There are currently over 700 American wineries that produce fruit wine, ciders, and honey wines. The market for domestic non-traditional wine is in its infancy and promises to expand. From Hawaiian pineapple wine, Georgia peach wine, to Vermont cider, fruit wines are increasingly recognized for complex flavor profiles in the wine industry.

For our next installment, we are looking to highlight regional grape varieties in the domestic wine industry. Send us your suggestions on Twitter!

2015 Wine & Grape Policy Conference

April 16 – Washington D.C.

We have wrapped up the 2015 National Wine & Grape Policy Conference here in Washington D.C. It has been an active two days! The cherry blossoms were in bloom as members of WineAmerica and Winegrape Growers of America gathered for two days of policy discussions.

The board of directors meeting minutes are available for members in the member’s only section.

The leading issues facing our industry include Canada potentially leveraging retaliatory tariffs on imported  American wine. Canada is the largest consumer of American wine, with 1 billion in sales. Tariffs would deeply damage sales and cost market share for years to come. TTB funding was also a leading issue. The TTB is underfunded, leading to long wait times for label approval and other regulatory issues. WineAmerica is asking Congress to appropriate additional funds to streamline the regulatory process. Panel discussions included subjects on immigration, tax reform and sustainability.

Look at WineAmerica’s positions on these issues and more.

The WineAmerica board meeting included welcoming Donnie Winchell of the Ohio Wine Producers Association as chair of the State and Regional Association Advisory Council. Thank you to  the out-going chair Kevin Atticks from the Maryland Wine Association for his work during his three year term. WineAmerica also welcomed its newest member Treasury Wine Estates. Debra Dommen, Vice-President of Government and Community Affairs was in attendance. Treasury’s California holdings include Beringer and Chateau St. Jean.

Tuesday morning featured Representative Mike Thompson as the keynote speaker. Mr. Thompson (D CA-5) as long been a supporter of the wine industry, including co-founding the Congressional Wine Caucus in 1999.

After hearing from policy experts, WineAmerica members went to Capitol Hill to meet with their representatives. Lead by government affairs team Myers & Associates, WineAmerica leadership met with the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Rep. Michael Conaway (R TX-11), staff from the Majority Senate Agriculture Committee and staff from the Minority Senate Agriculture Committee, and the Senior Policy Advisor to Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader.

The conference culminated with a wine tasting featuring 78 wines from 38 wineries in 25 states. Members of Congress were able to try wines from their home districts and sample wines from non-traditional regions. You can view the photos here. Thank you to all the WineAmerica members who provided wine.

The next WineAmerica meeting will be held in Lexington, KY October 26-27. The Fall Meeting will bring together the local and the national industry, will feature policy education and interaction with congressional offices in their home district.

Stay tuned for the WineAmerica board meeting minutes. They will be sent out next week and posted to the members only section of the WineAmerica website.

Thank you for supporting 2015 National Wine & Grape Policy Conference. We look forward to seeing you in Kentucky!

Thank you to all the members who provided wine.


Dos Cabezas WineWorks


Cakebread Cellars

Jackson Family Wines

Paraiso Vineyards

Treasury Wine Estates


Bookcliff Vineyards


Philip Jamison Jones Winery


Tiger Mountain Vineyards


Bitner Vineyards


Blue Sky Vineyard

Illinois Sparkling Company


Oliver Winery


Tassel Ridge Winery


Boordy Vineyards


Chateau Grand Traverse

St. Julian Wine Company


Les Bourgeois Vineyards


Mac’s Creek Vineyards and Winery

New Jersey

Hopewell Valley Vineyards

New Mexico

Matheson Wine Company

New York

Anthony Road Wine Company

Bedell Cellars

North Carolina

Childress Vineyards

Raffaldini Vineyards


Ferrante Winery

Valley Vineyards



Wooldridge Creek Winery


Mazza Vineyards

Paradocx Vineyards


Stonehaus Winery


Brennan Vineyards

Haak Vineyards


Breaux Vineyards

Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery


L’Ecole No 41, Maryhill Winery


Wollersheim Winery