TTB offers payment waivers to wineries

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) will grant payment waivers to wineries that were affected by the recent wildfires.

The agency said it would waive on a case-by-case basis the late filing, payment, or deposit penalties related to excise taxes on wine, distilled spirits and beer products.

The applications would be judged on the “standard of reasonable cause and a lack of willful neglect demonstrated by the taxpayer.”

The wineries must be located in areas that have been declared a major disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. All four North Coast counties — Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa and Lake — are under such designation.

For more information, visit the bureau’s website at

Lobbyist hopeful for tax package

Jim Trezise, president of the WineAmerica trade group, wrote in an Oct. 27 statement that he is hopeful that a measure that would reduce taxes for smaller breweries and wineries could be included in a massive $1.5 billion tax package that congressional Republicans are crafting.

Trezise noted the bill, called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, has a majority of support in both chambers as 52 senators and 284 representatives have signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors.

“This is a big deal — and the result of efforts by WineAmerica and our beverage coalition partners to educate legislators about the economic importance of the American wine, beer, and spirits industries,” he wrote.

The bill would increase the amount for the small wine producer tax credit from 250,000 gallons produced annually to 2 million and reduce the tax rate for sparkling wine from $3.40 per gallon to the same rate as still wine, which is $1.07 per gallon.

Strong donates $100K to fire fund

Rodney Strong Vineyards of Healdsburg has donated $100,000 to the Community Foundation Sonoma County’s Sonoma County Resilience Fund to aid residents who were displaced by the recent wildfires.

The winery is one of many local vintners that have made significant contributions in the aftermath of the fires to aid the local community, especially as a number of wine industry workers lost their homes or had owned structures that suffered damage.

“I have seen firsthand the outpouring of support, generosity, and kindness throughout this devastating tragedy, and it reminds me of how much we value our community and its commitment to Sonoma County. We believe in this county, its strength, resilience, and ability to overcome, and we will do our part to help rebuild,” said Carmen Castaldi, company president, in a statement.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or