• Section 19B Farmer-winery licenses; hearing; appeal; notices to interested parties; operation of winery; records; fees

  Section 19B. (a) For the purpose of encouraging the development of domestic vineyards, the commission shall issue a farmer-winery license to any applicant who is both a citizen and resident of the commonwealth, and to applying partnerships composed solely of such individuals, and to applying corporations organized under the laws of the commonwealth or organized under the laws of any other state of the United States and admitted to do business in this commonwealth and to applying limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships organized under the laws of the commonwealth, subject to such conditions as the commission may prescribe by regulation to address issues of citizenship and residency and the need for a license manager under section 26 as qualifications for a limited liability company or limited liability partnership to hold a license pursuant to this section and sections 15, 18, 18A, 19 and 19C, unless:

  (1) such person does not comply with reasonable application procedures required by the commission; or

  (2) the commission determines that such person is not of responsible character; or

  (3) a church or school located within five hundred feet of the winery premises has objected to issuance of the license in accordance with section sixteen C; or

  (4) the commission determines that the applicant retains or owns an interest, directly or indirectly, in the business of a licensee under section twelve or fifteen; or

  (5) the commission determines that the applicant retains or owns an interest, directly or indirectly in more than one business licensed under section eighteen; or

  (6) the applicant has not furnished the requisite license fee or bond; or

  (7) the commission determines that the co-partners, corporate officials or stockholders of the applicant do not meet the requirements of paragraphs (2), (4) and (5), or that the manager or agent intended to conduct the winery business on the applicant's behalf does not meet such requirements, or that such co-partners, officials, stockholders, agent or manager remain undisclosed.

  (b) The commission may on its own motion, and shall upon the written request of any applicant who has been refused a farmer-winery license or has been refused transfer or renewal of such a license, hold an evidentiary hearing, notice of which shall be mailed to the applicant at the address given in his application. Such hearing shall be before the commission, or a member thereof. The commission shall present its reasons for refusing issuance. The applicant may appear in person or by counsel, may cross-examine witnesses for the commission and may present evidence. The hearing shall be stenographically or sound recorded. If the hearing is conducted by an examiner, the examiner shall report on the hearing to the commission. The commission shall decide within thirty days of the completion of the hearing whether to issue the winery license or grant the transfer or renewal. If the commission refuses the license, transfer or renewal following the hearing, notice in writing of the refusal shall be mailed to the applicant. In all such cases, the commission shall keep on file a statement in the form of an opinion of the reasons for the refusal, and shall furnish a copy thereof to the applicant.

  (c) Any applicant who has appeared before the commission at such a hearing and who has been refused a farmer-winery license or the transfer or renewal of such a license may appeal to the superior court of the county where the applicant resides or has his principal place of business within the commonwealth, or to the superior court for the county of Suffolk.

  (d) Every applicant for an original winery license or for a transfer of such a license shall, within seven days after filing an application with the commission, send written notice of his application by registered mail, return receipt requested, to:

  (1) each school which offers instruction and training to children of compulsory school age in accordance with sections one and four of chapter seventy-one and which is located within a radius of five hundred feet from the premises on which the winery is to be operated; and

  (2) each church as defined in section sixteen C which is located within a radius of five hundred feet from such premises.

  The notice shall also state that the church or school has the right to object under section sixteen C to the issuance or transfer of the winery license. If the authorities in charge of any such school or church complain to the commission in writing that a winery license has been issued or transferred without the mailing of the requisite notice, and that they object to such issuance or transfer, the commission shall hold a hearing to determine whether the requisite notice was mailed. If after a hearing the commission determines that notice was not mailed as required, then the commission shall cancel the winery license unless:

  (3) such school or church had actual notice, prior to issuance or transfer, of the application and of the right to object under sixteen C; or

  (4) such school or church did not complain as soon as possible after actual notification of the application and of the right to object.

  Any winegrower aggrieved by the cancellation of his license, or any school or church aggrieved by the commission's refusal to cancel such a license, may appeal as provided in subsection (d).

  (e) A winegrower may operate a farmer's winery under such conditions as the commission may prescribe by regulation.

  (f) A winegrower may import the unfermented juice of fruits, flowers, herbs or vegetables and may, using wine produced by the winegrower, distill wine on the premises of the winegrower for the sole purpose of fortifying other wines produced by the winegrower; provided, however, that a winegrower may not import wine or alcohol into the commonwealth.

  (g) A winegrower may sell wine or winery products:

  (1) at wholesale to any person holding a valid wholesaler's and importer's license under section 18;

  (2) at retail by the bottle to consumers, for consumption off the winery premises in accordance with a license issued under section 15, 15F or 19F;

  (3) at retail or wholesale to a person in a state or territory in which the importation and sale of wine is not prohibited by law;

  (4) at wholesale to a person in any foreign country.

  (5) at retail by the glass or bottle to be consumed on the premises prescribed by a license issued by local authority pursuant to section twelve of this chapter.

[ Paragraph (6) of subsection (g) added by 2014, 165, Sec. 161 effective July 1, 2014. See 2014, 165, Sec. 291.]

  (6) at retail if provided as a sample of wine or winery product to be consumed on the premises; provided, however, that no sample shall exceed 1 ounce and no more than 5 samples shall be served to any individual.

  (h) A winegrower shall not sell at retail to consumers any wine or winery product not produced by or for the winery and sold under the winery brand name. All retail sales shall be made on the winery premises, except where a winegrower obtains additional licenses for the sale of wine to consumers at additional locations off the winery premises at locations authorized by a license issued pursuant to sections 15 and 15F.

  (i) A winegrower may be licensed by local licensing authorities to sell wine for consumption on the winery premises in accordance with this section and with such regulations as the commission may prescribe.

  (j) All wines sold by a licensee hereunder shall be sold and delivered in such manner and under such conditions and with such labels or other marks to identify the producer as the commission may prescribe.

  (k) Every winegrower under this section shall keep such records as the commission may prescribe, and shall file with the commission, whenever and as often as it may require, duplicates of copies of such records. The commission shall at all times, through its designated officers or agents, have access to all books, records or other documents of every licensed winegrower relating to the licensee's winery business.

  (l) The annual license fee for each winegrower, in respect of each winery, shall be computed based on the wine gallonage produced by the winery as follows:

5,000 gallons or less per year $ 22. per year
More than 5,000 and less than
20,000 gallons per year: $ 44. per year
More than 20,000 gallons and less
than 100,000 gallons per year: $ 82. per year
More than 100,000 and less than
200,000 gallons per year: $110. per year
More than 200,000 and less than
1,000,000 gallons per year: $110. per year
Each additional 1,000,000 gal-
lons per year: $111. per year

  (m) Every applicant for a farmer-winery license shall, at the time of filing an application, pay a license fee based on a reasonable estimate of the amount of wine to be produced during the year covered by the license. Persons holding farmer-winery licenses shall report annually at the end of the year covered by the license the amount of wine produced during such year. If the total amount of such wine exceeds the amount permitted by the fee already paid, the licensee shall pay whatever additional fee is owing under this section.

  (n) A local licensing authority, subject to the approval of the commission, may grant a license notwithstanding section 17 to sell wines for consumption on the winery premises to a winegrower authorized to operate a farmer-winery under this section; provided, however, that such licensees may sell for on-premises consumption wines produced by the winery or produced for the winery and sold under the winery brand name.