Nevada Winery Law Revised: More Locations and Expanded Alcohol Menu Allowed
A bill boosting Nevada’s commercial wineries passed nearly unanimously last week in the state legislature. Portions of Assembly Bill 375, presumed dead after it failed its policy committee, had a last-minute revival as part of separate bill that regulates relationships between distributors and alcohol producers.
Under the revised statute, wineries will be able to serve other alcohol in their tasting rooms. The new law also permits them to “operate from noncontiguous locations,” allowing production facilities to be located on separate sites from tasting rooms.
Artesian Cellars proprietor Tim Burke told lawmakers during a March hearing that moving production offsite would free up space for customers in the tasting rooms and make the businesses more profitable.
Owners at Nevada Sunset Winery and Engine 8 Urban Winery say they have no immediate plans to shop for a second location. Several Reno-Sparks wineries told Grape Basin News they’re disappointed that a case limit increase from the original bill was not revived. The omitted provision would have triggered the 25 percent Nevada-grown fruit quota after 2,000 cases instead of the current 1,000.
Lawmakers in three consecutive sessions have declined to boost the case limit, deepening a rift among the state’s commercial winemakers. Northern and southern Nevada operators disagree over the number of cases that should be exempt from Nevada’s in-state fruit requirement.
The case limit and its link to fruit content appeared to be broadly misunderstand by members of the legislative committee who heard the bill in March and did not allow it to advance.
The revisions to Nevada winery law (NRS 597.240) will become effective on July 1, 2021.