Monday, June 21, 2010

Minnesota Wine Industry

Today, we'll go through some Minnesota winery statistics.

I recently came across a white paper entitled: The Economic Contribution of Grape Growers and Wineries to the State of Minnesota. This was published on August 2008. I will have to try to contact the author to see if he has an updated document with new numbers.

Some facts that I find interesting:
  • Grape growers directly spend about $8M in Minnesota in 2007. The total effect on the Minnesota economy from this spending was $13.6 million. In the same year a total of 101 jobs can be attributed to the grape industry.
  • MN wineries directly purchased $5M of inputs in 2007. In total, the Minnesota economy increased by $8.5M because of this spending. Wineries increased state employment by a total of 68 jobs.
  • Tourists visiting MN wineries spent $8.4M in 2007. If you add indirect effected into the calculation, this number increases to $14M. Employment in MN due to the tourism increased by 155 jobs.
  • In 2007, the total economic impact of the wine industry was $36.2M

If you are interested in the full white paper, you can find it here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Farm Wineries in Minnesota

Farm Wineries are given a special status in Minnesota because our state wants to promote the fledgling farm winery industry. Through the years, I like to take an informal poll to see how many people in my social sphere know about Minnesota wine...and the answer is: not many. The first response I always get is, "Really? How?" and the second question that always follows is whether it's actually any good. Well, why wouldn't it be? If people chug down all those Two Buck Chucks, they ought to know that Minnesota wine is, of course, just as good.

Farm Wineries are given special status, which means they can:
  • sell their products on Sundays between the hours of 12 noon and 12 midnight;
  • sell via the Internet, up to two cases per customer, as permitted in Minnesota Statutes,
    section 340A.417;
  • operate a restaurant or other establishment (a change passed in the 2007 session);
    give free samples to visitors; and
  • import, with special permits issued by the commissioner, additional grapes to add to their
    crops in an off-year for farm production.

To get the full report from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department, click here.

Minnesota Statute 340A.315 Farm Winery License may also be of interest.
It is important to note that this statute will most likely be revisited in the future. Currently, many farm winery owners are concerned about market access if they are only allowed to give samples of their wine at non-profits with a per event liquor permit from their local government unit. This limits the number of people that will be exposed to Minnesota wine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wine as Raffle Prizes

We've all been to an event where someone is raffling wine off as a raffle prize. How does this all work? Apparently, the first thing to note is that there are laws and regulations governing raffles. Click here for all the rules. Non-profit organizations can try to fundraise by having wine as a prize. The exact language of the statute can be found here.

I like participating in organizing events to raise money for charities I believe in so this information is good to know. In a handbook provided by Minnesota's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, they note these items:

An organization may award wine, beer, or intoxicating liquors as a raffle prize if:

• funds from the raffle are dedicated to the charitable purposes of the organization;
• the number of raffles or silent auctions at which alcohol is awarded is limited to not morethan six occasions per year; and
• the alcohol may only be raffled to persons who demonstrate that they are 21 years of age or older and do not show signs of obvious intoxication.

The law that allows alcohol prizes at raffles does not authorize on premise consumption of alcohol. So, make sure the winners of your raffle prizes don't turn around and chug down that bottle of wine unless you've already applied for the appropriate licenses.