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Crowe advances measure to help winemakers with licensing fees

The Illinois Senate is supporting a measure pushed by state Sen. Rachelle Aud Crowe to help struggling wine makers by lowering licensing fees for first-class manufacturers.

“Wineries are unique small businesses providing service to residents and visitors throughout the entire state,” Crowe, D-Glen Carbon, said. “By re-implementing the previous licensing fees, we can offer financial support to wine operators as they work to recover following pandemic-related burdens.”

In partnership with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association, Crowe’s measure lowers the licensing fees for first-class wine manufacturers to $750 if renewed online and $900 for initial or non-online certification. Under a law passed in 2021, the fees were raised to $1,200 if renewed online and $1,500 for initial licenses and non-online.

“Wineries in Illinois offer diverse experiences, but the industry endured similar hits during the pandemic due to a business model built almost exclusively on social visits, tastings and in-person sales,” Crowe said. “Wineries play a critical role in developing local economies and tourism, and I will continue to explore initiatives to help producers grow their operations.”

Senate Bill 1001 moves to the House for further consideration.

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