Tasting rooms exempt from bill, but winery events reduced
By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- The Oregon House has given its stamp of approval to a bill to regulate winery activities on farmland.
Senate Bill 841 now has sailed through both chambers without a "no" vote.
The House approved it 56-0. It passed the Senate by a vote of 28-0 on April 25.
The bill scales back the number of events wineries in EFU zones can conduct from the existing 25 days to 18.
It allows wineries to conduct up to 18 events per year under an outright use.
Wineries in the Willamette Valley would be required to obtain an over-the-counter adiministrative license for the first six events, and a land-use permit for the next 12 events.
Wineries wishing to conduct more than 18 events per year can do so under a conditional-use permit.
Wineries outside the Willamette Valley would be authorized to conduct up to 18 events per year as an outright permitted use.
The basic tenets of the bill were crafted by a work group convened by Gov. John Kitzhaber that included state and county officials and wine industry representatives.
The bill caps the amount of revenue a winery can generate from activities and incidentals at 25 percent of on-site wine sales. And it stipulates that wineries can pair food with wine but are not allowed to offer menu options and otherwise function as a cafe.
The bill stipulates that new regulations do not apply to ongoing, legally established activites at existing wineries.
Tasting rooms are exempt from provisions of the bill, allowed as an outright use throughout the state.
The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence of amendments.