Governor Kitzhaber, wearing ostrich-skin boots and cracking jokes, signed House Bill 2443 that allows retailers in Oregon to sell wine growlers, which wine industry leaders say will promote greater consumption of Oregon wine in the state.
CFM Partner Dan Jarman represented the Oregon Winegrowers Association in pushing through the legislation, which was sponsored by the Oregon Wine Caucus, led by Reps. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, and Jim Thompson, R-Dallas.
"This was a fun bill to lobby," Jarman says. "The bill served a useful purpose, promotes responsible Oregon wine consumption and has a positive environmental impact."
Other co-sponsors also attended the bill signing, including Senators Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, and Jackie Winters, R-Salem and Reps. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City, Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard, and Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton.
Bill-signing ceremonies can be serious occasions, but today's event for HB 2443 was lively and celebratory. Even though the media wasn't invited, Channel 8 showed up and interviewed legislators and wine industry leaders, including OWA President Leigh Bartholomew, Harry Peterson-Nedry, Wynne Peterson-Nedry, Suzanne Larson and Sam Tannahill.
Beer growlers have been legal in Oregon and enjoyed great popularity as a way beer drinkers could take home brew directly from a keg in a reusable glass container. Oregon wineries have been authorized to sell wine growlers from their tasting rooms, but grocers and other off-premise retailers have not.
HB 2443 was among the earliest bills approved by the Oregon legislature with solid bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate.
The first ceremonial wine growlers will be poured April 24 at a special event in Salem at Jonathan's.