Idaho wine bill passes Senate

Posted at 11:26 AM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 22:05:11-04

A bill to amend the definition of dessert wine under Idaho law has passed the Senate.

Under current law, Idaho wineries are not allowed to label their products as "port", "sherry" or "madeira" due to federal certification of labeling origination issues, so the Idaho Wine Industry is asking for the definition to be revised to state that dessert wine has the taste, aroma and characteristics attributed to said wines. 

The legislation also seeks to change the legal alcohol content in dessert wines from 21 to 24 percent. 

Oregon, Washington and California have already adopted this standard, and the Idaho Wine Industry believes the change in law could help Idaho wineries become more competitive in the market. 

The proposal would also stop Idaho wineries from being required to purchase a beer license to sell wine on the winery's original licensed premises.

Similar legislation was passed by the Idaho Legislature in 2010 to exempt wineries from having to purchase a beer license when selling wine by the drink or at retail off of the winery's originally licensed premises.

The bill passed the the Senate on a 31-2 vote.