About Amador Wine Heritage District

As part of the Strategic Planning process that was completed and adopted last year, the Amador Vintners Association established a goal to better market the region through raising awareness, promoting the quality of the region as a destination, and supporting the success of the Amador wineries. This requires a sustainable source of funding vs. the current model focused solely on event traffic and revenue.

As a result, The Amador Vintners Association is in the process of creating a new organization, the Amador Wine Heritage District (AWHD), which promises to be an exciting development for the region. The primary focus of the AWHD is to increase funding for enhanced education, quality, and a sustainable marketing program to highlight the exceptional wines produced in Amador County. One percent of sales from all wineries will be dedicated to programs that showcase the unique characteristics of Amador County wines and promote the region as a premier wine destination.

Amador County has a rich tradition of producing some of the finest wines in the world, creating a strong sense of community among wineries, growers, and residents in the area. The Amador Wine Heritage District aims to strengthen this community further by enhancing education around quality and creating a sustainable marketing program to showcase the region’s exceptional wines.

One significant advantage of the proposal is the enhanced education around quality. With a stable funding stream, the district can invest in programs that educate wine makers, the community, and consumers about the unique characteristics of Amador County wines. Seminars, tastings, and other events can be used to highlight the quality of the region’s wines, ultimately leading to increased sales and a stronger market for the area.

Another advantage of the proposal is the creation of a sustainable marketing program. With a dedicated funding stream, the district can invest in marketing initiatives that draw attention to the unique characteristics of Amador County wines. Targeted advertising campaigns, participation in industry events, and other initiatives can raise awareness and recognition of the region’s wines. A sustainable marketing program can ensure that the district remains competitive in the global wine market and its wines are recognized as among the best in the world.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of the proposal is the creation of a stable funding stream. Currently, funding for initiatives that promote and enhance the region’s wines is largely dependent on unpredictable mandatory events, donations and sponsorships. With a stable funding stream based on 1% of sales from all wineries, the district can invest in programs and initiatives that will help to grow the region’s wine industry in a sustainable fashion. This funding stream will also provide a safety net in case of any future economic downturns.

The Amador Wine Heritage District proposal has immense potential for the region. By creating a stable funding stream, the district can enhance education around quality, create a sustainable marketing program, and ensure that it has the resources it needs to invest in programs and initiatives that will help to grow the region’s wine industry. This proposal is exciting and has the potential to bring many benefits to Amador County.

In the coming weeks, more information related to the formation of the new district will be available on a new web portal, including the Management District Plan, Frequently Asked Questions, and an updated timeline outlining the process moving forward. Additionally, we are working with MMS Strategies a local Government Affairs firm to help with local outreach. MMS Strategies has worked in the formation and management of many local districts and are able to address any questions you might have regarding the process or operation of such districts. We are excited about this new development and look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to the region.

Amador Wine Heritage District Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Amador Wine Heritage District (AWHD)?

The AWHD is collective group of Wine Operations that utilize a 02 license and self assesses their operations at 1%.

How are those funds to be utilized?

Through a management plan that will direct how the funds must be spent and require an annual report detailing the budget and expense to be presented each year to the Amador County Board of Supervisors.

What is the Marketing Plan?

Click here to view proposed marketing plan.

Who will oversee the spending of those funds?

There will be the creation of a 501c 6 that will oversee the monies collected by the AHWD.

Will the Amador Vintners Association (AVA) still exist?

The AVA will cease to operate. The new 501c6 will take on all existing assets and liabilities of the AVA.

Will the new 501c6 operate like the AVA?

No, the creation of the new 501c6 will allow for new bylaws to be drafted to better reflect the rate payers of the AHWD.

Will there be requirements for those in the AWHD other than 1% of all sales?

No, by operating a winery in Amador County with a ABC operation 02 license you will be automatically assessed the 1%, all other current requirements of AVA membership will be voluntary in the future.

Will only wine sales be assessed?

Sales made outside of the ACWHD boundaries are not subject to assessment due to a lack of benefit, including those sales made to ship wine from assessed wineries within the ACWHD, as described below. Assessment dollars will not be spent on any programs or activities to benefit individual winery businesses outside of the County of Amador. Assessments shall only be levied on sales conducted within the boundaries of the ACWHD. Sales derived from wine shipping purchases, including but not limited to those made in relation to wine club memberships, out of state purchases, or purchases made by phone, shall not be subject to ACWHD assessment. For example, if an assessed winery owner travels outside of the state of California to sell wine from their ACWHD assessed business, such sales shall not be subject to assessment. However, if a customer from outside of the state travels to wineries assessed within the ACWHD and purchases wine, such sales shall be subject to assessment.

Can this be passed onto the customer and if so, how will the assessment be listed on the customer receipt?

Yes, the assessment is levied upon and a direct obligation of the assessed winery.  However, the assessed winery may, at its discretion, pass the assessment on to customers.  The amount of assessment, if passed on to each customer, shall be disclosed in advance and separately stated from the amount charged and any other applicable taxes, and each customer shall receive a receipt for payment from the business.  If the AWHD assessment is identified separately it shall be disclosed as the “AWHD Assessment.” The assessment is imposed solely upon and is the sole obligation of the assessed winery even if it is passed on to customers. 

Are there other areas in California that are doing this now?

Yes, Livermore Valley has 45 wineries and a 2% assessment on direct to consumer.  Additionally, Temecula started a new wine district in to include 1% assessment to all sales.

Does the district last forever?

No, the district once established will last for 5 years at which time it will need to be renewed in the same fashion as the formation of the district, by a majority of the assessment payers.