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What You Should Know About the New Ohio Farm Winery Permit

Published: Apr 12, 2017 by James McGovern

Ohio has been producing quality wines since 1804, when Nicholas Longworth began producing sparkling Catawba wine from grapes he cultivated in the Ohio River Valley. Nowadays, Ohio is well known for Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Vidal Blanc varieties produced by nearly 200 wineries across the state. In an effort to embrace the diversity among Ohio’s wineries and to increase the visibility of its smaller producers, the state legislature created in 2016 a new category of winery the farm winery.

If you are interested in a farm winery permit or have questions about permitting your organization, contact our experienced Ohio governemnt affairs attorneys at Graff & McGovern today at 614-228-5800.

What Is an Ohio Farm Winery Permit?

Previously, all Ohio wineries would operate under the same A-2 liquor permit, which authorized them to make and sell wines on their premises. This permit, however, did not distinguish between wineries that grow their own grapes and those that merely make wine from grapes obtained elsewhere. Since the passage of House Bill 342 last year, however, wineries that make wine from grapes they have cultivated themselves will have a unique legal status under the A-2f liquor permit.

The bill’s sponsors, such as Ron Young (R-Leroy Township), believe the new permit will enable consumers to recognize each wine’s local character and to differentiate between Ohio’s various wine growing regions. Additionally, the new license will make Ohio wineries more competitive on the national scene and allow farm wineries to benefit from taxation as agricultural operations.

The Ohio Division of Liquor Control will issue a permit under the following conditions:

  • Payment of a $76 fee
  • The applicant demonstrates that it produces wine from grapes, fruit, or other agricultural products grown on its own property
  • The applicant’s property qualifies as land devoted exclusively to agricultural use, meaning that the land is used for commercial agricultural production and is at least 10 acres in size or is less than 10 acres but generates a minimum yearly average gross income of $2,500

An Ohio Farm Winery A-2f permit gives the holder a good deal of flexibility, as it can:

  • Sell its wine products for consumption on its own premises, for consumption off the premises (in sealed containers), or to wholesale permit holders
  • Manufacture, purchase, and import brandy for fortifying its wine
  • Import and purchase wine for blending (the amount of wine used for blending cannot exceed 40 percent of the total final product)

Ohio Business License Lawyers You Can Count On

At Graff & McGovern, we are passionate about helping our clients businesses succeed in complex legal and regulatory environments. We facilitate everything from license and permit applications, to defending against government action, to lobbying for the amendment of administrative rules or state legislation. Our Ohio government relations attorneys can promote your interests at the local, state, and federal government levels and within the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

If you’re looking for a solution to an administrative or legal hurdle facing your business, call Graff & McGovern today at 614-228-5800.