Ohio Ups Gallonage Cap

On June 2nd, Governor Strickland signed an emergency measure that upped the capacity cap from 150,000 gallons to 250,000 gallons. The measure goes into effect on July 1, 2008 and amends Section 4301.10(A)(8)(c) of the Ohio Revised Code.

The 100,000 gallon increase results in benefits for wineries and consumers alike. Now wineries producing between 150,000 and 250,000 gallons annually will be able to get a direct shipper’s permit and have access to the state which, in turn, provides Ohio residents with a wider selection of wines from which to choose. However, the cap is still in place, and until Ohio joins the ranks of states which have no capacity caps, both wineries and consumers will suffer.

Wineries that produce between 150,000 gallons and 250,000 must apply for the B-2a and/or S permits with new application forms, however, as of June 23, 2008 Ohio has not yet updated their permit applications to reflect the increased capacity cap. To obtain general information on obtaining a B-2a and/or S permit, visit the Ohio Division of Liquor, and click on “Direct Shipping Information”. To check for updated applications, click on “Agency Operations Section (Liquor Agencies, Spirituous Liquor)”.

Wine Distribution Notes – Release 28

The latest version of Notes on Wine Distribution by R. Corbin Houchins is now available for viewing or downloading. Release 28 highlights changes in the following categories: Age & Identity Verification, Rethinking Reciprocity and State Notes, specifically Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Headings of sections with substantial changes since the preceding release (published in early April, 2008) are highlighted, so that you can easily find the updated sections.

You can always view the most current version of Houchins’s Notes on Wine Distribution by visiting ShipCompliantBlog.com and clicking on the “Wine Distribution Notes” link under “Compliance Resources” on the right-hand side of the page.

Caps Off to Dolan's Intentions

In October of last year, wineries began shipping directly to Ohio residents under a new direct shipping permit law. When the provisions of the law in Ohio were first announced, one of the major subjects of controversy was the capacity cap, which only allows wineries that produce less than 150,000 gallons annually to obtain a permit. Capacity caps continue to be a subject of controversy in all the states that use them (currently Arizona, Massachusetts, Indiana Kentucky and Ohio; Florida could adopt a 250,000 gallon cap if SB1096 or HB1293 is passed).

Continuing the controversy, Ohio Representative Matthew J. Dolan is looking to increase the capacity cap for wineries from 150,000 to 250,000. Though the increase in production volume may be a “little step” in the right direction, it certainly seems like a very little step, allowing only 17 more California wine labels to be shipped to Ohio residents. According to The Plain Dealer, Dolan originally vowed to eliminate the cap altogether, but got a lot of pushback from the Ohio Department of Commerce and from Ohio Distributors (as Uncorked points out, “no surprise”).

Just next door, Indiana also prevents wineries producing over a certain amount of wine per year from shipping directly to its residents. Indiana’s original capacity cap was 500,000, but will increase on July 1, 2008 to 1,000,000 gallons since SB0107 was signed on March 13th by governor Daniels. Though this is the highest volume cap of the four states that have said restrictions,

Many will agree that any permit system that discriminates against a winery for the amount of wine produced is not an ideal permit system. Furthermore, the constitutionality of these caps is being challenged through litigation (see Family Winemakers of California vs. Jenkins). State legislators may adopt a capacity cap restriction for any number of reasons, but none of them seem very fair. The state may claim that it is trying to protect its own wineries by establishing the volume cap just above that of the highest producing in-state winery, but who else is being protected while the consumer’s interests fall by the wayside?

Update: In our original post, we mistakenly stated that that Indiana has a capacity cap that is similar to OH, KY, MA, and AZ. The 500,000 gallon “cap” in Indiana that will increase to 1,000,000 gallons on July 1st, 2008 only applies to wineries in that the applicant must not sell more than this amount of wine per year IN Indiana, excluding wine shipped to an out-of-state address.

Caps Off to Dolan’s Intentions

In October of last year, wineries began shipping directly to Ohio residents under a new direct shipping permit law. When the provisions of the law in Ohio were first announced, one of the major subjects of controversy was the capacity cap, which only allows wineries that produce less than 150,000 gallons annually to obtain a permit. Capacity caps continue to be a subject of controversy in all the states that use them (currently Arizona, Massachusetts, Indiana Kentucky and Ohio; Florida could adopt a 250,000 gallon cap if SB1096 or HB1293 is passed).

Continuing the controversy, Ohio Representative Matthew J. Dolan is looking to increase the capacity cap for wineries from 150,000 to 250,000. Though the increase in production volume may be a “little step” in the right direction, it certainly seems like a very little step, allowing only 17 more California wine labels to be shipped to Ohio residents. According to The Plain Dealer, Dolan originally vowed to eliminate the cap altogether, but got a lot of pushback from the Ohio Department of Commerce and from Ohio Distributors (as Uncorked points out, “no surprise”).

Just next door, Indiana also prevents wineries producing over a certain amount of wine per year from shipping directly to its residents. Indiana’s original capacity cap was 500,000, but will increase on July 1, 2008 to 1,000,000 gallons since SB0107 was signed on March 13th by governor Daniels. Though this is the highest volume cap of the four states that have said restrictions,

Many will agree that any permit system that discriminates against a winery for the amount of wine produced is not an ideal permit system. Furthermore, the constitutionality of these caps is being challenged through litigation (see Family Winemakers of California vs. Jenkins). State legislators may adopt a capacity cap restriction for any number of reasons, but none of them seem very fair. The state may claim that it is trying to protect its own wineries by establishing the volume cap just above that of the highest producing in-state winery, but who else is being protected while the consumer’s interests fall by the wayside?

Update: In our original post, we mistakenly stated that that Indiana has a capacity cap that is similar to OH, KY, MA, and AZ. The 500,000 gallon “cap” in Indiana that will increase to 1,000,000 gallons on July 1st, 2008 only applies to wineries in that the applicant must not sell more than this amount of wine per year IN Indiana, excluding wine shipped to an out-of-state address.

Ohio Direct Shipping Permits Available for Wineries Producing Under 150,000 Gallons Annually

As of October 1, 2007 only wineries producing up to 150,000 gallons annually with an approved S Permit issued by the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control and registered with the Ohio Department of Taxation may ship to Ohio consumers. Wineries producing 150,000 gallons or more annually are prohibited from shipping both on-site and off-site sales to Ohio consumers as of October 1, 2007. The application fee for the S Permit is $25.00 annually. Under the new law an Ohio family household may receive an aggregate total of 24 cases of wine annually.

Wineries applying for the S permit must pay a $25.00 fee and have the application notarized. The permit must be renewed by each year by October 1st. It is expected to take 3-4 weeks for the applications to be processed. Next are some tips to help you complete the permit application. Type of Applicant is determined by whether or not the winery has a relationship with an Ohio distributor. If the winery applying for a permit has a distributor in Ohio “out-of-state supplier” should be selected as type of applicant. Wineries that do not have a relationship with a distributor should select “unregistered in Ohio out of state wine manufacturer.” The first question on the application references a tax credit under 27 D.F.R. 24.278. This refers to a section of the “small producer’s tax credit” that all wineries producing less than 150,000 gallons annually are entitled to under federal law.

The Division of Liquor Control will notify the Department of Taxation, Excise Tax Division that you have applied for the S permit. Excise tax forms and instructions should arrive via U.S. Mail approximately 30 days after you have submitted your S permit application. Excise taxes are scheduled to be paid quarterly. Direct Shippers must register with the Ohio Department of Taxation, Sales & Use Tax Division. Registering your business by telephone is recommended. Call 1-888-405-4089 and press #1 after the message. There is also the option of registering with the Department of Taxation by submitting Form UT-1000. State and county sales tax must be paid. The state sales tax is 5.5% and the county tax ranges from.25%-1.5%.

S Permit holders are required to report annually to the Division of Liquor Control. The annual report must include a copy of each wine shipment invoice and a record of the name, address and quantity of wine purchased by each consumer. The reporting form is not yet available. It is likely that the annual reporting due date will coincide with the S permit renewal date of October 1. For more information visit the Wine Institute website.

Link to Form UT-1000
Link to S Permit Application
Small producers tax credit

Free the Grapes!: Ohio Wine Lovers to be Cut-off October 1

Free the Grapes! just pushed a press release about Ohio that condemns the new laws and calls for consumer action. Below are a few excerpts.

A new law effective Monday, October 1 will prevent Ohio wine lovers from continuing to purchase wines directly from many popular mid-sized wineries, according to Free the Grapes!

During the closing stages of this year’s budget process, an amendment was slipped into the budget bill that prohibits medium and large wineries and wine companies whose total production exceeds 62,500 cases from shipping wine directly to Ohio consumers.

Additionally, the law creates a potentially unworkable system that may scare eligible wineries from shipping any wine to Ohio consumers. The bill sets a 24-case annual shipping limit per “family household,” rather than an annual limit per winery, per individual, as is common in most states.

Click here to read the full press release