LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday to promote the state’s agriculture industry by allowing small winemakers to offer wine tastings at farmers markets.
Senate Bills 79 and 279 would enable winemakers who produce up to 5,000 gallons of wine per year to purchase a new farmer’s market permit, said the sponsor of the bills, Sen. Goeff Hansen.
“Michigan’s wine industry is one of the strongest sectors of Michigan’s economy. We should give aspiring winemakers the opportunity to contribute to our state’s economy and give people a Pure Michigan experience,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “One way to do this is give them access to a venue that promotes their products to help them build a foundation for a long-term, profitable wine industry.”
Under the measures, the fee for an annual farmer’s market permit would be $25 for each farmer’s market location. Each winemaker could purchase one permit for every 1,500 residents of the county in which the winemaker is located.
“The fee is reasonably priced to make it financially viable for winemakers to have a presence at multiple locations,” said Hansen.
The measures would also add small winemakers who hold a farmer’s market permit and are selling their wine at a farmers market to the list of individuals who can sell wine at retail.
“Michigan’s farmer’s markets exist to connect consumers with local food and the farmers who grow and produce it,” said Hansen. “This legislation promotes our state’s positive attributes and provides new opportunities for small businesses.”
The Bills now head to the Michigan House for consideration.