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Wineries help save home winemakers event

Sonoma Home Winemakers are urging their members to participate in their annual Home Winemakers Celebration Sept. 7. But this year they won’t be pouring their own wines.

Reacting to a stern interpretation of state law that has shut down similar events this year, the local group doesn’t want the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control to come knocking on its door, even though the event is now in its ninth year, with no previous problems.

“As soon as we heard (of the problem), we set up a meeting with the ABC,” said Joanne Snyder, president of the group (formerly known as VOMDES). “In two days, our past president, Philip Sales, was able to get representatives from two state legislators at the meeting. He deserves full credit for getting their support.”

“All four state legislators who represent all or part of Sonoma County are on board,” said Sales. “Language has been written and legislation will be introduced by State Sen. Lois Wolk to take care of this problem.”

The five-page draft is simple and is intended to be acted upon quickly. It contains language almost identical to existing law allowing amateur beer-makers to pour their brews at fundraising events. Snyder said she’s not sure why there was a discrepancy in the first place, but beer brewers were treated differently than winemakers.

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