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Illinois: Wineries push for Illinois bill allowing for more wine production, self-distribution

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May 9, 2024

Cathy Sagle

Source: https://www.wcia.com/

May 6, 2024

Wineries across the state are pushing for a bill in the Illinois capitol that would allow their workers to expand their operations.

Right now under Illinois law, the maximum amount of wine wineries can produce is 25,000 gallons. Wineries can also only self-distribute 5,000 gallons.

A bill filed by Rep. Theresa Mah (D-Chicago) would increase the limit to 250,000 gallons of wine produced at an Illinois winery per year, and self-distribution for 25,000 gallons.

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Many wineries in the state reach their limit to self-distribute the wine easily. Winery owners said partnering with distributors can be challenging as many are not interested in working with small business operations.

“For Illinois wineries, the path forward to growing our small businesses is to expand our ability to produce more wine and sell more wine ourselves,” said Jim Ewers of Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda. “Passing HB2864 would not only level the playing field for local wineries but also ensure fairer distribution practices that benefit both producers and consumers.”

The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Alliance is advocating for the bill expanding the limits. They say the measures need to be updated as the law is nearly 90 years old, and expanding the limits would boost the state’s economy.

“Our winery and vineyard operations continue to drive economic growth and enrich our agri-tourism landscape,” said IGGVA President Ryan Phelps. “Our industry’s growth ensures an increase in state excise and other business taxes, stimulates job creation, and fosters prosperity.”

The bill has not been voted on in a committee yet.

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