A bill that would allow small farm wineries to self-distribute table wines to retailers passed the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee Wednesday.
SB 234 by Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, would give farmers who produce wine additional marketing options. Under existing law, producers of alcoholic beverages may only sell to distributors or directly to consumers in limited quantities at the production facility.
Whatley’s bill would allow wineries licensed by the Alcohol Beverage Control Board to sell to licensed retailers and directly to consumers. It defines a “small winery” as one that produces less than 100,000 gallons of table wine a year and uses at least 50% fruit grown in Alabama or has at least five acres dedicated to growing fruit. It also requires at least 50% of the wine be produced at the winery location. Small farm wineries would be required to collect and remit applicable taxes.
The legislation has drawn opposition from distributors of alcoholic beverages as well as large, out-of-state wine brokers. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration.