MACON, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Agriculture is re-issuing ballots to wine and grape producers for the referendum to approve the Georgia Wine & Grape Commission marketing order and set the assessment amount growers will pay. Ballots are being reissued because the return envelopes that accompanied the first ballots did not indicate that voting producers were to print and sign their names to verify their vote.
The re-issued ballots will be on different-colored paper, and ballots returned from the first ballot issue will not be counted. The voting period, originally set for Jan. 15 – Feb. 14, will now run from Feb. 7 to March 9.
In order for the marketing order to be approved, at least 25% of the ballots mailed to the best available list or eligible producers of record must be returned and 66.3% of the returned ballots that are declared valid must have voted affirmatively.
The Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commission for Wine and Grapes was created by HB1093 of the Georgia General Assembly in 2020 at the request of Georgia wine producers and was signed into law in August 2020 by Governor Kemp. The establishment of the Georgia Wine & Grape Commission allows the creation and passage of a marketing order by vote of the affected producers of Georgia wine and grapes.
If approved, this marketing order will allow for an assessment of all Georgia produced wine by producers who produce 1,000 liters or more on an annual basis. The funds collected by the Georgia Wine and Grapes Commission shall only be used for the purpose(s) of research, education, and promotion of Georgia produced wines and the Georgia wine industry. Decisions on how the funds will be used will be determined by the five members of the Georgia Wine and Grapes Commission, which consists of Georgia wine producers appointed by the Georgia Commodity Commission Ex Officio Committee.
The proposed marketing order would allow an assessment between a range of 5 cents ($0.05) to twenty cents ($0.20) per taxable liter of wine. The payment of the assessment to the Georgia Wine and Grape Commission shall be monthly and reported on the Georgia Wine and Grape Commission reporting form.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has licensed 86 wineries in the state. The Georgia Deparment of Agriculture has sent each a ballot. If you own a winery that produces and sells a minimum of 1,000 taxable liters of wine/year and did not receive a ballot please call 404.586.1405 to request one.
–Georgia Farm Bureau