Sen. Miner supports CT farmers; will re-examine legislation that threatens state’s farm wineries

February 18, 2020

Sen. Miner, Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee and Co-Chair of the Rural Caucus joined a bipartisan group of legislators, farm winery owners from across the state and farm industry officials at a press conference organized by the Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association (CVWA) to outline the need to preserve incentives intended solely for the state’s farmers, farm vineyards and farm wineries.

Last year, the General Assembly enacted the Liquor Control Act, which created a new permit for wine manufacturers. This legislation goes on to extend incentives originally designed to support Connecticut farmers to other manufacturers who typically import out-of-state grapes or wine that is ready for bottling. Essentially, it created a new class of winery that would enjoy the same rights as farm wineries, but with a fraction of the investment in the state.

“The state has a robust and beneficial farm winery industry that is crucial to not only the economy, but also the conservation of our land. The unintended consequences of the Liquor Control Act, passed without a public hearing, can be remedied this session with minor language changes. This is a bipartisan issue to ensure the success of our farmers and the state’s agricultural industry,” Sen. Miner said.

The CVWA estimates that this industry had a $154 million economic impact to the state in 2015 through jobs, tourism, purchase and maintenance of equipment, and investment in land and surrounding areas.

The proposed fix to last year’s Liquor Control Act may be raised in an omnibus bill in the 2020 Legislative Session.