Growers make grapes, wineries make wine and WineAmerica makes policy, said Jim Trezis, president of WineAmerica. Think of our industry as an incredibly strong three-legged stool that would collapse if it didn’t have a leg. Because wine is an agricultural product, grape growers and winemakers always talk about the natural climate, while WineAmerica focuses on the commercial climate of wine.
Michael Kaiser, vice president of government affairs, leads WineAmerica’s legislative and regulatory program with support from Tara Hood, vice president of development, and Jim Trezise, president. It also mobilizes member wine producers and trade associations across the country to speak with their legislators at critical times. The organization’s State and Regional Associations Advisory Council (SARAC), which includes more than 40 active associations, is an important resource for strengthening grassroots policy work at the national level.
Despite all the disruptions caused by covids, 2020 was one of our best years in terms of laws and regulations, said Michael Kaiser. We achieved our goals in large part thanks to the active participation of our wine producers and members of our associations, as well as our partners in the beverage coalition.
Priority No. 1 was the enforcement of reduced excise rates under the Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. WineAmerica also actively participated in the Check Recipient Protection Program and other programs under Covid’s assistance package. The Bureau of Revenue and Trade has adopted new standards for bottling that will make boxed wine more economically attractive. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans remained unchanged, despite a proposed amendment rejected by WineAmerica. And the permission decrees of the Ministry of Justice concerning music licenses remain in force.
WineAmerica is also off to a good start in 2021: $28.6 billion in Restoration Act funds are included in the U.S. bailout, though $120 billion is requested in total. Other priorities for 2021 include immigration reform, eliminating tariffs, drafting a farm bill, music licensing transparency and more.
WineAmerica is the only national wine industry association in the United States. With 500 members nationwide, WineAmerica promotes the growth and development of American vineyards and winemaking by promoting and advocating sound public policy in Washington, D.C. WineAmerica relies 100% on membership dues. Our small but highly professional team is committed to protecting and improving America’s wine trade environment. Become a member today and stay up to date on the policies and regulations that affect you. For more information, see www.wineamerica.org/membership.
You can find the WineAmerica 2021 Government Affairs book at https://wineamerica.org/government-affairs-2021/.
Reference: Michael Kaiser, Vice President of Government Affairs, [email protected].
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