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Start Your Own Georgia Winery

October 13, 2016

Last time we discussed alcohol licensing we talked about breweries and brewpubs. Let’s shift gears a little and focus on another favorite … wineries.

Winery

Have you ever visited one of Georgia’s beautiful wineries? A winery is a property of land or a building that makes, produces or bottles its own wine, also known as a vintner. Some wineries also have an additional license to hold wine tastings and events. However, there are different regulations on what type of events can be held at a winery and what kind of alcohol can be served. For the most part, wineries — like breweries — cannot sell their wine directly to consumers.

Farm Winery

Farm wineries grow the fruit for at least 40% of their annual production within the state of Georgia. Additionally, a major portion of that production must be used to produce wine by the winery.

A farm winery is different from what you might think of as a commercial winery because often the entire process, from growing the fruit to selling the final product, happens right on the farm.

Wine Special Order Shipping

Did you visit a winery and find a wine you love, but you're not sure how you’ll get it back home? Most wineries hold a special order shipping license that allows them to directly ship wine to consumers in Georgia. This license is separate from a winery or farm winery license and is only issued when a winery has met all regulations and paid the applicable licensing fee. Once obtained, the winery can ship wine directly to its consumers for personal use without designating a wholesale distributor.

It’s also important to note that the winery does not have to be licensed in Georgia in order to apply for a special order shipping license.

Start Your Own Winery

Ready to plant your own winery? You might want to start with applying for the right type of license. Read more about each type of winery and the specific type of license you'll need on the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) website. There are some standard documents and investigation processes that are applicable to each type of winery license, including:

  1. Licensing fee — Fee varies significantly depending on what type of license you need.
  2. Background investigation and fingerprinting process.
  3. All additional documents can be found on the DOR website under Alcohol Manufacturers.

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Chelsea Stephens

About the Author

Chelsea Stephens is the Marketing & Training Lead for Digital Services Georgia. A Georgia native herself, Chelsea enjoys writing on topics that citizens and visitors of Georgia can enjoy and learn from. 

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