Winery Expansion? What TTB Needs from you!

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Your winery business is great and you’re expanding -don’t forget to amend your basic permit with TTB.

Demand for your wine seems to be going nowhere but up!  That’s fantastic, but you are having to deal with increased production issues.  Perhaps you have bottled all you can from your vineyard and you are having to source grapes. Local interest in your winery has caused that small tasting room you created when you opened your winery to now be woefully inadequate to handle the growing stream of individuals that seem to be more and more interested in your wine.

You have worked hard to preserve the quality of your wine and clearly want to provide for customer demand.  Countless hours are spent to determine how you can expand your facilities to accommodate growth.  It seems like everything will need to be expanded or reconfigured – from equipment and other production rooms, bottling and labeling areas, cellar space and tasting rooms.  You have likely figured out your logistics with an architect, a general contractor and an interior designer.

Your architect and builder are likely going to be well aware of permits and licenses needed by local governments for your expansion.  What may not seem obvious is that you need to notify TTB of the need to amend your basic permit.  While it is logical to think that once you have a winery permit you never need to amend it, it is also logical to think that if something changes, you need to amend the permit.  No different than the architect and builder getting a new permit from your local government to add onto, or remodel  your existing winery buildings, you need to amend your basic permit when you alter those premises.

Think back to when you were completing Form 5120.25 – Application to Establish and Operate Wine Premises.  Remember how detailed the description of your winery buildings had to be?  The application calls for you to describe each wine premises building as to size, construction, and use. The Federal Regulations associated with this requirement indicate that the “description will clearly indicate any area of the wine premises used as bonded wine premises, used as taxpaid wine premises, or alternated for use as bonded wine premises and taxpaid wine premises. The means employed to afford security and protect the revenue will be described. If required by the appropriate TTB officer to segregate operations within the premises, the manner by which the operations are segregated will be described.”

If any of the above descriptions change, because of changes to doors, walls or other infrastructure, you need to amend your basic permit.  This amendment must be submitted within 30 days of the change in premises, and the submission must make the initial application file accurate and current. Failure to abide by these requirements, like all violations of alcohol laws, creates the possibility of fines or incarceration.  Of course, perhaps the most daunting punishment is loss of your permit to produce.  If you have any questions regarding expansion of your winery and compliance with the regulatory authorities, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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