Wine law encompasses more than what most people realize. Here is a sampling of what a wine lawyer may do for a winery:
- Assist in land acquisition: land acquisition can be a complex process. The process can be made much more smooth with the assistance of a lawyer.
- Hiring contractors for building or repair: wineries are always changing, being upgraded, and improved. When it comes time to hire a contractor, it's a good idea to have a lawyer in order to reduce the possibility of a dispute. If a dispute arises, it will be handled quickly and professionally.
- Business formation: wine owners may have certain business decisions to make insofar as what type of business formation to use (S Corp, LLC, partnership, etc.)
- Alcoholic beverage licensing: both State and Federal government regulate alcohol. It's important to stay current on all of the legislation and rules surrounding production and sale of alcoholic beverages.
- Environmental law: issues from endangered species, waste water management, surface water and groundwater quality, and storm water discharges.
- Employment law: issues range from labor management issues, employment agreements, pensions, contracts, wrongful discharge, civil rights, federal and state occupational safety laws, wage and hour laws, workers' compensation and OSHA regulations.
- Trademark law: wine bottle labels should bear a strong trademark, and should not infringe on any other mark. A thorough trademark search should be conducted for every new bottle in production.
- Contracts and License Agreements: for example, custom-crush agreements. Or, allowing events on winery premises.
- Tax law: wineries must comply with Federal income tax accounting rules.
- Litigation: wineries are sometimes sued for a variety of reasons. A lawyer familiar with the business may be best suited to represent the interests of the winery.
Of course, this list does not include everything wrapped in to wine law, but it shows how diverse the practice of law can be when representing wineries in a legal capacity.