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Villapudua Provides Equity and Financial Relief for California’s Wine Industry

For immediate release:
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LODI – Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) celebrated the signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 239, which allows customers of wineries and tasting rooms to purchase a refill of their personal wine containers.

“It’s too often argued that environmental policies come at the cost of our business community,” said Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua. “Through the implementation of my AB 239, I’m excited to show why this is a false narrative. Allowing customers of wineries and tasting rooms to purchase a refill of their personal containers, rather than having to purchase a new glass bottle of wine, reduces consumer waste while simultaneously lowering the costs for businesses that would otherwise need to purchase these glass bottles.”

The use of refillable bottles, or “growlers” has been a common practice for breweries across the nation and has helped to save tens of thousands of cans and bottles every year. Unfortunately, this has never been an option for customers of wineries and tasting rooms due to legal restrictions.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control temporarily lifted these restrictions on wineries to allow them to refill customers personal growlers to provide financial relief for local winegrowers. Assembly Bill 239 permanently lifted this restriction.

Allowing for the use of refillable containers falls directly in line with California’s environmental goals of reducing consumer waste. Refilling a single reusable wine keg would save the use of 39 glass bottles.

“California has always led on environmental policy, and with AB 239 we are now spearheading yet another sustainable practice to reduce waste,” said Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas). “I am grateful for Assemblymember Villapudua’s leadership on this bill, which will move the ball forward on our climate and recycling goals while making California’s wineries an even better destination for people the world over.”

“We are excited for the opportunity Assemblymember Villapudua is providing for California’s wine industry to ease the cost of doing business,” said Steve Felten, owner of Klinker Brick Winery. “Allowing the use of these growlers will enable both the customers and businesses to rely less on glass bottles that increase consumer waste and backend costs.”

You can learn more about AB 239 here.