Rules and Regulations for New Jersey Winery Licenses
The list of available New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control liquor licenses is enumerated under N.J.S.A. 33:1-10. Included in that list are the a Plenary Winery licenses and Farm Winery licenses. These licenses differ from the Craft Winery License which has become very popular in recent years. Below is a detailed look at the rules and regulations imposed upon New Jersey Plenary Winery Licenses and New Jersey Farm Winery Licenses. For more information, contact our office at 732.858.5857. Our ABC and Liquor Law department is headed by a Former Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He can assist you in any liquor license compliance or regulatory matters.
Plenary Winery License
A Plenary Winery License requires the applicant to grow and cultivate grapes or fruit on at least three (3) acres of land on, or adjacent to the winery premises. This license allows the winery to produce any fermented wines, and to blend, fortify and treat wines, and subsequently sell and distribute your products in the following manner:
- Sale to Class B Wholesaler licensees;
- Sale to Churches for religious purposes;
- Sale at retail to consumers on the licensed premises of the winery for consumption on or off the premises and to offer samples for sampling purposes only; and
- To sell and distribute outside of New Jersey.
Additionally, the Plenary Winery License permits the licensee to maintain a warehouse for storage to subsequent distribution. The cost for this license is $938, which is far less than the price tag for a brewery license or even a retail distribution license.
How Much Wine Can A Plenary Winery Produce?
The owner of a Plenary Winery license can produce an unlimited amount of wine. However, should the licensee produce more than 250,000 gallons per year, they will forfeit the ability to sell direct to retailers. Instead, they must utilize a wholesaler for distribution. For those licensees who produce less than 250,000 gallons and wish to self-distribute, the additional fees for distribution are as follows:
- $1,000 – Licensees who manufacturer between 150,000 and 250,000 gallons annually.
- $500 – Licensees who manufacture between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons annually.
- $250 – Licensees who manufacture between 50,000 and 100,000 gallons annually.
- $100 – Licensees who manufacture less than 50,000 gallons annually, $500;
Self-distribution can be a valuable tool, if coordinated and executed properly.
*It should be noted that plenary wineries who produce less than 250,000 gallons per year may ship up to 12 cases of wine per year to any person in or outside of New Jersey, so long as they are over 21 years of age the wine is for personal consumption. This is known as direct ship. It is a great way for your winery to increase your margins by limiting costs incurred between production and end consumer. For reference, a case of wine shall not exceed a maximum of nine liters and all invoices and records for these purchases must be maintained for a minimum period of three (3) years.
How Many Wineries Can I Have an Interest In?
If you hold an interest in a plenary winery license that does not produce more than 250,000 gallons per year, then you may not hold any interest, direct or indirect, in any license that produces more than 250,000 gallons of wine per year. This works vice-versa as well. Simply put, you may have multiple interests in plenary wineries, so long as no single one produces more than 250,000 gallons per year.
Call 732-858-5857 today and find out how our law firm can assist you and your winery.
Farm Winery License
For those wineries that do not produce on as large of a scale but use predominantly New Jersey grapes and fruits, New Jersey may issue a Farm Winery License. This license allows the winery to manufacture any fermented wines and fruit juices in a quantity a specifically stated quantity that does not exceed 50,000 gallons annually. Similar to the Plenary Winery license, a Farm Winery may sell and distribute his or her products to (1) wholesalers and retailers licensed in New Jersey; (2) churches for religious purposes; to (3) sell and distribute without this State to any persons pursuant to the laws of the places of such sale and distribution; to (4) sell at retail to consumers for consumption on or off the licensed premises and to offer samples for sampling purposes only.
What are the Requirements to Become a Farm Winery in NJ?
In addition to producing less than 50,000 gallons annually, Farm Wineries must also maintain exclusive control over at least three (3) acres of land where they manufacture their product. This land must contain growing grape vines or fruit to be processed into the licensees wine or fruit juice. Furthermore, for the first five years of the operation of the winery such fermented wines and fruit juices shall be manufactured from at least 51% grapes or fruit grown in the State and that thereafter they shall be manufactured from grapes or fruit grown in this State at least to the extent required for labeling as “New Jersey Wine” under the applicable federal laws and regulations.
What are the Farm Winery License Fees?
The fee for this license is as follows:
- $375 – Manufacturing between 30,000 and 50,000 gallons annually.
- $250 – Manufacturing between 2,500 and 30,000 gallons annually.
- $125 – Manufacturing between 1,000 and 2,500 gallons annually.
- $63 – Manufacturing less than 1,000 gallons annually.
Farm Wineries and Salesrooms
Farm Wineries have the unique ability, similar to Craft Wineries, to sell their products in original packages at retail to consumers in 15 salesrooms apart from the winery premises for consumption on or off the premises, and for sampling purposes for consumption on the premises. The fee for these salesrooms is $250 each. There are restrictions on the operations of these salesrooms, specifically, licensees shall not jointly control and operate salesrooms and the rules and regulations applicable to retail consumption and retail distribution licenses will apply.
Similar to Plenary Wineries, Farm Wineries may ship up to 12 cases of wine per year to any person in or outside of New Jersey, so long as they are over 21 years of age the wine is for personal consumption. For reference, a case of wine shall not exceed a maximum of nine liters and all invoices and records for these purchases must be maintained for a minimum period of three (3) years.
Unless otherwise indicated, for the purposes of this subsection, with respect to farm winery licenses, “manufacture” means the vinification, aging, storage, blending, clarification, stabilization and bottling of wine or juice from New Jersey fruit to the extent required by law.
Other Less Common Winery Licenses
Wine Blending License
“The holder of this license shall be entitled, subject to rules and regulations, to blend, treat, mix, and bottle fermented wines and fruit juices with non-alcoholic beverages, and to sell and distribute his products to wholesalers and retailers licensed in accordance with this chapter, and to sell and distribute without this State to any persons pursuant to the laws of the places of such sale and distribution, and to maintain a warehouse. The fee for this license shall be $625.”
Instructional Winemaking Facility License
“The holder of this license shall be entitled, subject to rules and regulations, to instruct persons in and provide them with the opportunity to participate directly in the process of winemaking and to directly assist such persons in the process of winemaking while in the process of instruction on the premises of the facility. The holder of this license also shall be entitled to manufacture wine on the premises not in excess of an amount of 10% of the wine produced annually on the premises of the facility, which shall be used only to replace quantities lost or discarded during the winemaking process, to maintain a warehouse, and to offer samples produced by persons who have received instruction in winemaking on the premises by the licensee for sampling purposes only on the licensed premises for the purpose of promoting winemaking for personal or household use or consumption. Wine produced on the premises of an instructional winemaking facility shall be used, consumed or disposed of on the facility’s premises or distributed from the facility’s premises to a person who has participated directly in the process of winemaking for the person’s personal or household use or consumption. The holder of this license may sell mercantile items traditionally associated with winemaking and novelty wearing apparel identified with the name of the establishment licensed under the provisions of this section. The holder of this license may use the licensed premises for an event or affair, including an event or affair at which a plenary retail consumption licensee serves alcoholic beverages in compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations promulgated by the director. The fee for this license shall be $1,000. For the purposes of this subsection, “sampling” means the gratuitous offering of an open container not exceeding one and one-half ounces of any wine.”
New Jersey ABC Lawyers
Call our offices today for more information on starting your winery or consultation on compliance issues you have incurred. We can be reached 24/7 at 732.858-5857.