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State Oks Bill Limiting 'Special Events' At Vineyards

SALEM -- A bill restricting the number of "special events" vineyards can hold has been approved by both chambers of the state legislature and was signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber on Friday.The Oregon Senate voted unanimously in favor of the bill on April 25, while the House of Representatives did the same on June 13.Senate Bill 841 defines "special events" as those in which the marketing and sale of wine is secondary, such as weddings, concerts and other facility rentals.The bill also restricts a vineyard's non-wine income to 25 percent of its onsite retail sale of wine.Restrictions vary depending on a winery's location.In the Willamette Valley, wineries would need an administrative license to host their first six events and then a streamlined land-use permit for the next 12. Outside the Willamette Valley, a permit wouldn't be required.Those wishing to host more special events could apply for a conditional-use permit and those already allowed to host more than 18 special events can continue to do so.Sponsors the Oregon Winegrowers Association, the Southern Oregon and Willamette Valley winery associations and the Winegrowers Association of Central Oregon have stated they supported the bill to keep the industry focused on wine.Thus, restrictions don't apply to events related directly to wine sales, including winemakers' dinners, wine clubs, winery and vineyard tours, open houses and wine tastings.

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