Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why We Don’t Ship to Texas – or California for That Matter

One of our local wineries inquired about shipping laws to Texas. Although this information is available online, here is the personal response he got from the nice lady at the Alcohol Beverage Commission:

From: Carolyn Beck []
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 8:34 AM
To: Jim
Subject: RE: Permit

It is $470 for a two-year permit.

You will also be required to obtain a sales tax permit from the Texas Comptroller's Office.

Tax security is required in an amount of $1,000 to adequately protect the state against the anticipated tax liability and may be submitted as a: liquor tax bond from a surety company authorized to do business in Texas, or a letter of credit, or assignment of certificate of deposit or savings account from a Texas bank or credit union. These forms are available on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission web site at Once you have been in business 36 months and have paid your taxes timely, you may request an exemption from the tax liability requirement on the Application for Bond Exemption Form C-26. This form is available under "Other Forms" on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission web site.

You can find additional information about the out of state winery direct shipper's permit here:

Carolyn Beck

Director of Communications and Governmental Relations

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission


Well, that sounds simple, Carolyn. I think every Washington winery will be signing up to sell that one case a year. We wouldn't want to disappoint a customer. Believe it or not, in defense of Carolyn, she doesn't make the law. This is the 'model' shipping law as proposed by the California Wine Institute. The California version is only $10 per year for the license and the tax liability amount is only $500 (cash, no bond, deposited in a California bank payable to the Late Great State of California). I guess California wineries have more money and ship more wine than Washington wineries.

It looks like Texans are stuck with American white zinfandel vinted and bottled by Llano Estacado.

Amerika, land of the regulated and home of the bureaucrat!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spring Has Sprung in the Rattlesnake Hills

And yes, the grapes budded out just fine. The old saw that you need to be above 1200 feet was invented in frosty Prosser Flats where that is indeed the magic number. Unfortunately, it is also the summit of Sagebrush Ridge. It does not hold true for the Rattlesnake Hills.

We are expecting a full crop here at the Ch. Puryear Vineyard which sits at 900 feet elevation at the southern border of the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. (No the AVA does not extend down to the Yakima River, nor does it go over the summit of the Rattlesnake Hills into the frosty Moxee Valley.) Our Morrison Vineyard at 1200 feet is also doing well. Hyatt Vineyards, at about 1000 feet, seems to have a full crop even in the bottom of a large canyon.

The only damage we received was in the Touriga Nacional. It sits in the coldest part of the vineyard which isn't probably the ideal location for this variety. Fortunately, I have a cellar full of Touriga Port. We expect about half a crop from this little block. The Pinot Noir block right next to it is fine.

Yes, Patricia, the Rattlesnake Hills is a "real" AVA even though it uses a power line as a boundary just like Red Mountain. It also has some demonstrable advantages over other fine growing regions in Washington.

Now we need those superior growing degree days that the Rattlesnake Hills AVA is known for to ripen this crop.