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Rules and regulations for pouring wine at charity events

on 17/01/11 at 9:34 pm


A number of wineries recently have contacted the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, on their participation in charity events orchestrated by third-party advertising services.

The ABC’s recent scrutiny of these events suggests that it is taking very seriously the matter of winery compliance with the regulations governing winery participation at charitable events.

Specifically, wineries are allowed to pour wine at charitable events only if they comply with the provisions of Rule 53, Title 4 of the California Code of Regulations.

The first important aspect of this regulation is that it applies only to “winegrowers,” or those who hold a Type 02 license from the ABC. So, it does not allow wholesalers (also often called “virtual wineries” because they have wine custom produced for them by another winery) to participate in charity wine tastings.

Conditions for Rule 53

Those who are licensed as California winegrowers may conduct wine tastings that are sponsored by a bona fide charitable, fraternal, political, religious, trade, service or similar private organization if certain conditions are met.

Here are relevant conditions:

– The sponsoring organization must be a nonprofit organization.

– Attendance must be limited to members of the sponsoring organization and their invited guests (i.e., not open to the public).

– No charge or donation shall be made either for the wine served or for admission to the premises. This prohibition applies only to participating wineries. The charity may charge admission, accept donations and charge for wine served.

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