Sonoma County Updates, and a Cordial Invitation

Today, we would like to remind you of two things: one is a law that will affect our friends in Sonoma County this year, and the other is a cordial invitation to an industry event in the area on May 30th!

Sonoma County has seen great growth over the past few years, especially in 2012. According to our latest direct shipping report, created in conjunction with Wines & Vines, we have seen sales through direct shipping out of the area rise over 10% in the past year alone. Several regional organizations have taken note of this growth, and helped pass legislation in August of 2010 to ensure that Sonoma-based wines are properly branded and marketed.

Sponsored by the Sonoma County Vintners and the Sonoma County Winegrape Commision, AB 1798 requires that any wine from an American Viticultural Area (AVA) located in Sonoma County must also include the words “Sonoma County” on its bottle labels. Though the legislation was passed three years ago, very little action has been required by vintners—until now. The state of California will begin enforcing this new requirement on January 1st, 2014. The possible punishment of neglecting this new rule is the revocation of one’s winery license.

This marks the fourth kind of law, called “conjunctive labeling,” enacted in the Golden State. Napa Valley, Lodi, and Paso Robles have had this type of requirement enacted in the past.

The rationale is twofold:

  • According to the sponsor organizations’ market research, Sonoma County’s brand recognition is much greater than most of the individual AVA’s that make their home in Sonoma County
  • A voluntary program to place “Sonoma County” on the region’s wine labels resulted in a 20% participation, and sponsors of the bill want to increase those numbers significantly.

There is a counter-argument to this new initiative, however. Wineries have been using more detailed AVA information to better market their region, such as “Russian River Valley” and “Dry Creek Valley.” Adding Sonoma County to the label is seen by some as diluting the brand. Regardless, the legislation has long since passed.

While this may have been on your radar when it was first enacted, we wanted to remind you that this would be a good time to make sure your upcoming COLA submissions to the TTB are properly ready to go.

More detail on label requirements can be found at :

As for that invitation…ShipCompliant is pleased to participate in the eWinery Solutions “State of the Industry” seminar at Sonoma State University on May 30th. We’ll be digging deeper into our recent direct shipping data, and talk about ways to use this data to your advantage! Click here to sign up!

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