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Industry News | Wine Shipping & Fulfillment

What the changes to California's Bottle Bill mean for DTC wine shippers

By  Jeff Carroll
October 24, 2023

Want to learn more about the changes for WineDirect wineries? Learn more here.

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, some fairly significant changes will take effect in California for wineries. SB 1013, which passed last year, expands the definition of “beverage” to include wine and distilled spirits, effective 1/1/24. CalRecycle recently held a webinar where they walked attendees through the changes in detail. In this post, we summarize the changes specifically for wineries that are shipping direct-to-consumer. Currently, there is no exemption for wines or spirits labeled before July 1, 2025. While the Wine Institute is working on legislation to create an exemption for wines labeled before January 1, 2024, wineries and distilleries should start including the required labeling on all applicable containers as soon as possible.

What you need to know:

  • Wine (and distilled spirits) products become part of the California Beverage Container Recycling Program (BCRP) starting January 1, 2024 
  • Wine products sold in (and shipped to) California will be subject to both processing fees and CRV 
  • DTC wineries will be considered “distributors” and likely will also be considered “manufacturers” 
  • Registration is open now and must be completed prior to January 1, 2024 
  • Labels and/or containers can begin to show one of 5 different allowable CRV messages effective January 1, 2024, but the messages will not be mandatory until July 1, 2025
  • The CRV can be, but doesn’t have to be charged to consumers 
  • The CRV can be, but doesn’t have to be listed separately on the consumer invoice 
  • Adding the CRV fee to an approved label is considered an allowable revision with TTB 
  • The first returns for distributors will be due in February and for manufacturers in March 
  • Bottles opened and used as winery tasting room samples don’t need CRV or processing fees reported 
  • The CRV is subject to sales tax (the fee is taxable if the sale of the beverage is subject to sales tax) 
  • WineDirect will work with our compliance partners to support the collection of the CRV 

Are wineries manufacturers, distributors, or both?

The definitions of “manufacturer” and “distributor” within the BCRP are different than the definitions of the same terms under the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regulations. In the webinar, CalRecycle clarified that Beverage Manufacturers are anyone who does any of the following: 

  • Bottles, cans or fills beverage containers in California (including mobile bottling lines) 
  • Imports beverages into California for sale to distributors, dealers, or consumers. 
  • Holds a Certificate of Compliance with ABC (Beer/Malt only) 
  • Is an out-of-state entity, holding a Wine Direct Shippers Permit with ABC 

Distributors are anyone who does any of the following: 

  • Sells beverage containers to a dealer in California 
  • Imports beverages from outside California for sale to dealers or consumers in the state 
  • Is an out-of-state entity holding an ABC Wine Direct Shippers Permit 
  • Is a beverage manufacturer or brand owner selling DTC in California 

So, both out-of-state wineries and in-state wineries will qualify as distributors for their DTC sales to California residents. Out-of-state DTC wineries will also be manufacturers, and in-state wineries will also be manufacturers for their DTC sales to California residents, unless they do not do their own bottling. However, wineries that use 3rd party bottlers will need to complete paperwork in coordination with their bottler to transfer the beverage manufacturer responsibilities back to the winery. The registration form for wineries to register as beverage manufacturers and distributors for wine shipped to consumers is available.

CalRecycle encouraged wineries to complete the registration process well in advance of the January 1 deadline. After completing the form, which asks several questions about your business and the types of activities that you do, CalRecycle will determine whether your business will qualify as a distributor, manufacturer, or both, and will assign reporting identification numbers accordingly for reporting and paying CRV and/or processing fees. Producers must register with the state agency administering the program, CalRecycle (there’s an online form at the Cal Recycle site), to ensure compliance with the new Bottle Bill regulations.

Processing fees and CRV rates

Rates are not yet available for 2024, but the 2023 rates can be found here. The CRV can be, but doesn’t have to be charged to the consumer. CRV fees, which are paid by distributors, are: 

  • $.05 for bottles under 24 ounces (24 ounces is about 710 mL, so anything smaller than 750 is $.05) 
  • $.10 for bottles 24 ounces and above 
  • $.25 for all other package types (boxes, bladders, pouches) 

Processing fees, which are paid by manufacturers, are listed in the table here. The glass rate is $.00452 for 2023. 

Approved CRV messages

Wine and distilled spirits containers must be labeled by July 1, 2025 with one of the five CRV message options below: 

  1. California Redemption Value 
  1. CA Redemption Value 
  1. California Cash Refund 
  1. CA Cash Refund 
  1. CA CRV 

The CRV message can be added before July 1, 2025 but not to wine and spirits products before Jan 1, 2024. Adding one of these CRV messages would be considered an allowable revision by TTB (see #12 in the table on this page), so a new Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) would not be required if the only change to the label is adding the CRV message. 

Updates:

October 2023

On Friday, October 13th, Governor Newson signed into law SB 353, a bill that made several improvements to the Bottle Bill law. Of note, the bill permanently exempts from the CRV labeling requirement any wine or spirits containers that are filled and labeled prior to January 1st, 2024. Prior to this bill passing, "library wines" and other wine or spirits products labeled prior to January 1st, 2024 would have needed a label change or some form of sticker to comply with the bottle bill regulations if sold in California.

The bill also reduces the confusion around what happens when wineries use third-party bottlers (who previously would have been the "manufacturer" under the Bottle Bill) and provides a mechanism for wineries to be listed as the manufacturer of the products bottled at the third party instead.

November 2023

Our California CRV implementation is well underway, with groundwork and data collection completed. We are seeing excellent progress and plan to launch this feature for WineDirect Classic and All-New WineDirect before January 1, 2024. This feature will streamline CRV fee collection across all sales channels, ensuring convenience and compliance for our clients. The transition will be smooth with minimal involvement on your end. Stay tuned for more details as we approach the release. We'll communicate through in-app messages and emails, providing documentation with all required steps.

In the meantime, we invite you to watch the recording of a recent webinar we hosted with our partners, ShipCompliant, covering the upcoming regulations: 

How to Prepare Now for Changing Regulations in 2024 (Recording)

Please join WineDirect and Sovos ShipCompliant for a look at regulations that will be changing or coming online in 2024 that will impact how you do business.

December 2023

We're making significant strides and are on track to roll out this feature for WineDirect Classic and the All-New WineDirect before January 1, 2024. Here's a quick overview of what this feature brings to the table

Feature Overview

We've crafted our California CRV implementation to streamline CRV fee collection across all sales channels, providing convenience and ensuring client compliance. If enabled, the system automatically applies CRV fee collection to orders based on container size based on the SKU's bottle settings.

  • You can activate CRV collection from within the website settings of the admin panel.
  • A new line item for orders outlining the collected California CRV amount.
  • GetOrderDetial will record the CRV fee in the Deposit response parameter.

Additional resources: 

Download your copy of the 2022 DTC Impact Report today:

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