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.
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:
Distributors are anyone who does any of the following:
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.
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:
Processing fees, which are paid by manufacturers, are listed in the table here. The glass rate is $.00452 for 2023.
Wine and distilled spirits containers must be labeled by July 1, 2025 with one of the five CRV message options below:
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.
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.
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:
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. Our pair of experts will discuss: