WELCOME TO THE SANTA BARBARA COUNTY WINE PRESERVE BID!

 

We have built this page to help explain the BID to the whole Wine Industry of Santa Barbara County.

 

Please feel free to share with any wineries or tasting rooms in the industry, as the BID affects and benefits us all, not just members.

 

The following topics are on this page. Please scroll down to see them. If you can’t read the “Overview” document because you are on your phone and it is too small, there is a version to download below. The BID is also explained in detail in the FAQ.

 

  • Letter to the Wine Industry from the President of the Santa Barbara Vintners
  • Overview of the BID
  • Upcoming BID Meetings
  • FAQ
  • Documents for download and review:
  • Sample marketing proposal
  • The actual Management District Plan that is the legal document (MDP)
  • The steps and schedule of formation of the District
  • A letter of support to the Vintners from Santa Maria Valley BID
  • Got questions? Feel free to email us or call anyone on the Steering Committee
LETTER TO SANTA BARBARA WINE COUNTRY FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE SANTA BARBARA VINTNERS

 

Dear Santa Barbara Wine Country:

 

Since our first commercial grapes were planted almost 40 years ago, we have strived to produce wines recognized globally for being world-class. Never has this been more true than now.

 

From the original producers to the garagistes of today, to the classic estate, to the small family-owned wineries, to the latest vanguard natural wine producers, Santa Barbara Wine Country has never had a better collection of wines.  

 

During these same 40 years, other wine regions in the U.S. have banded together to tell their stories more successfully due to their collective efforts and their financial resources, leaving consumers to bypass our region to go to theirs. Our past approach is simply not working in today’s competitive environment and we are consistently being out-spent and out-marketed. We need this to stop!

 

We are the only wine association in the west coast that is 100% member-financed. We must change our approach so we can better tell the world about our amazing wines, invite them to see our incredible landscapes, enjoy our stunning food and meet the fiercely passionate and proud wineries, grape growers and winemakers.

 

The Wine BID that the Santa Barbara Vintners has been researching for the last two years will be the greatest thing that has ever happened to Santa Barbara Wine Country. By placing a 2% assessment on the DTC retail sales of wineries and tasting rooms, which can be paid for by the consumer, the Santa Barbara County wine industry can finally generate the resources needed to tell our stories to the world. We can drive consumers to visit, protect our regions from political encroachment, and reinvest in our community and industry. The system ultimately becomes a virtuous circle of supporting more consumer visitation, more exposure and more sales.

 

There is not a better long-term financial decision that we could make and I urge you to review the following documents, attend the Wine Bid Meetings, and get involved. If we do not pass this Wine Bid, I see the collective wine region languishing, never reaching its full potential and regretting that we missed this incredible opportunity.

 

Should you have any questions and comments, please feel free to contact me or any Members of the Wine Bid Steering Committee.  Our names and email information are below.

 

In Vino Veritas,

 

Stephen Janes
President, Santa Barbara Vintners Board of Directors

 

Santa Barbara Vintners Board:
Katy Rogers: Katy.Rogers@JFWmail.com
Laura Booras: laura@riverbench.com
Alison Laslett: alison@sbcountywines.com

Callie Gleason: callie@gleasonfamilyvineyards.com
Stephen Janes: stephen@pencevineyards.com

Justin Willett: justin@tylerwinery.com

OVERVIEW OF THE WINE BID

Overview too small to read on your phone below? Here is a version that you can download – Click Here

What is the “Wine BID” and why are we considering it?

 

“Wine BID” is short for “Wine Business Improvement District.” You have probably seen a BID in action before. Our neighboring hotels and tourism boards charge a small fee on all hotel stays. This self-assessment is a choice made by the entire wine industry to generate marketing dollars that feed back into promoting and protecting the area. The fee is paid for by the consumer and funds the designated tourism boards. It is not a tax, because it is not funding the government, but it can feel like a tax because it is paid for by the consumer and collected at the point of purchase. The Association is proposing a similar assessment on DTC sales in Santa Barbara County to fund the mission of promoting and protecting the wine industry. The BID is a potential solution to the ongoing funding problems of the wine industry.The Vintners Association has long been seeking a way to create sustainable, reliable funding. We constantly struggle with ambitions and expectations that exceed our budget. We are working to improve our budget through a number of channels, including grants, sponsorships, and targeted fundraising; however, this BID is the most effective and influential solution we’ve found that will create long-term, stable funding for our wine region that does not come out of the pockets of our vintners. ​
What sales would this assessment be charged on, what will the assessment amount be, and why?

 

The assessment would be charged on all DTC sales to CA customers. This includes all items (wine, merchandise, events, etc.) sold in the tasting room and any items shipping to California customers, including orders made through internet, phone and wine club. This allows the BID to be tied to CA sales tax, ensuring a reliable system of collection that is not dependent on self-reporting and does not create additional work for vintners to report.

​Our goal for year one is an operating budget of $1.5MM. Based on the data provided by Santa Barbara County, 2% is the minimum we need to charge to reach that target.

How would the transaction work with the consumer?

 

All tasting rooms will disclose that “2% of the retail sale of wine goes to the protection and promotion of the Santa Barbara County Wine Industry.” If can pass the fee along to the consumer, or you can incorporate it into the price of your wine, but by disclosing the fee in all tasting rooms, the customer will not be confused. You would then set up an additional “tax” in your POS system to charge 2% on all wine sold to customers purchasing in your tasting room and any customers shipping to a California address. This fee would appear as a separate line item in the tax area on the receipt. ​

How is the fee collected?

 

The winery would collect the fee as a part of the normal transaction (the same way tax is auto calculated and charged). There would then be a third-party auditor to collect the fee and distribute it to the Santa Barbara Vintners, keeping your information confidential. The data needed to process the fee collection will be the same data you submit for California sales tax, so there should not be an increase in work needed from the wineries. Streamlining the work for our vintners is one of the reasons we have chosen to capture CA sales only.

Who does this apply to, who will benefit, and what’s in it for me?

 

The fee will be applied to all wineries in SBC, whether they are members of the association or not. All wineries will benefit in that the money generated from this BID will allow us to advocate for our wines and region the way we all want to but haven’t had the funds to do so in the past. Additionally, if the BID is implemented, membership dues will be eliminated. You can ask our local visitor bureaus and hotels how successful the Tourism BIDs have been for their businesses. A rising tide lifts all boats.
What will you spend the money on?

We asked one of our marketing business members to put together a sample marketing plan for us. You can download it and see what we might do with some of the new BID funding.

 

Click Here to Download
How will this work with my Point of Sale system?

 

Many Point of Sale systems have a feature built in that can support this. As an example, Wine Direct (previously Vin65) has a feature called “Handling Charge” that you can set as a percentage of a sale made to California residents (see screen shot below). Additionally, ShipCompliant is building in a feature to support BIDs as they expect this to be a needed feature in the future for multiple regions. In Square, you can add it as a separate line item. We will work with you to determine how to add the BID to your POS system. Any cost of adding a fee to the POS system is eligible for reimbursement by the BID funds.
Who decides if this gets approved?

 

 

All vintners in Santa Barbara County that have a Direct-to-Consumer business are eligible to sign the petition in favor of the Wine BID. Votes are weighted based on the percentage of DTC business your brand represents of the County’s total. We need 51% to be in favor for the BID to be approved and to move to the County for final approval.

FAQ

 

We have taken all your questions and answered them here. Please let us know if you have more! We will keep this updated.
WHAT IS A BID? WHY IS IT CALLED BID? DOES THAT STAND FOR SOMETHING?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area or industry that decides to collect an assessment or a fee in order to fund the promotion of that business area or industry. This is what hotels use when they refer to their “TBID” or Tourism Business Improvement District assessment and we picked up the phrase from them.  A BID can include non-contiguous businesses within a large area (such as all wineries within the County).

 

The assessment is paid by the business but can be passed along and collected from the consumer.

 

The borders of Santa Barbara County delineate the boundary of the proposed district.

WHAT IS A WINE BID?

The Santa Barbara Wine BID is a kind of business improvement district which is established to invest in individual winery businesses as well as the wider community of Santa Barbara County. The borders of the Santa Barbara County delineate the boundary of the district and wineries within it would raise funds through an assessment on tasting room and winery retail sales. ​

WHY DO WE NEED IT?

The Santa Barbara County wine industry has never been able to engage in the kind of marketing efforts we see in other wine regions. This disadvantage has meant we are often passed over by consumers heading to other wine regions whose advertising has a broader reach, such as Paso Robles.

 

While the Santa Barbara Vintners Association has worked valiantly over the years to promote the area, the organization loses money every year. The budget simply cannot keep up with the ambitions. To succeed as a wine region, it makes sense to establish a Wine BID assessment.

 

The Wine BID has many benefits to our industry and region that you can read about here.

HOW WILL THIS BENEFIT MY WINERY, SPECIFICALLY?

The primary benefit to your winery will be an increase in traffic and sales. With more marketing dollars and events, the Santa Barbara Wine Region will be promoted more extensively than it ever has been before.

 

Included in the Wine BID are also dollars to advocate for our region, allowing us to engage on a County, State and National level to protect our county as regulations are developed and policies are made that affect your businesses.

The Wine BID lasts for five years before it is renewed. This will allow the organization sustainable, reliable funding to engage in long-term marketing strategies that will gain momentum and reach every year.

HOW MUCH IS THE ASSESSMENT?
​The assessment will be 2% on all winery and tasting room retail sales (Direct to Consumer) that also incur California Sales Tax. Assessed retail sales include; wine, wine club (CA customers only), food, tasting & tour fees, events and merchandise.
I UNDERSTAND IT APPLIES TO SALES IN THE TASTING ROOM, BUT DOES IT APPLY TO A SALE THAT WE ARE SHIPPING TO ANOTHER LOCATION?
The BID assessment will be applied to all sales that are subject to California sales taxes.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THE 2% ASSESSMENT? HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON CA SALES ONLY?

Through meetings, conversations and a dedicated steering committee comprised of vintners, the 2% assessment on CA sales was established for the following reasons:

 

2% will bring in approximately $1.6 million. This budget is close to the neighboring wine region of Paso Robles. We have seen what they have been able to accomplish and while our efforts will not be identical, 2% puts us in the ballpark of marketing efforts in successful wine regions.

 

By linking the assessment to all CA retail sales, the Wine BID assessment can be audited against sales tax payments. We will be able to know when a business is not fully reporting and paying the Wine BID Assessment, which was a concern.

 

We are trying to create as little additional accounting and submission work as possible for the winery; tying the fee to sales tax helps accomplish this.

HOW MUCH REVENUE WOULD BE LOST IF THE BID ASSESSMENT WAS NOT ASSESSED ON CA WINE CLUB SALES?
A significant portion of the revenue would be lost without Wine Clubs. It’s crucial to this effort. ​
IN OTHER REGIONS THAT HAVE IMPLEMENTED A BID, HAVE CONSUMERS COMPLAINED ABOUT THE ADDITIONAL FEE?

Believe it or not, while there are sometimes questions, BIDs formed in other industries have reported that people do not complain about the assessment. These industries had similar concerns when they first implemented BIDs in their industries. For example, the SLO tourism district (hotel industry assessment district) shared that in the nine years they have had a BID, they have received NO complaints.

While we cannot predict how our consumers will respond, we know that people who travel, stay here, and subsequently join the wine club, are prepared to pay tourism prices and that typically includes assessments.

The other major point is that with the revenue, we will engage in more marketing than this area has ever experienced. The benefits of the marketing generated by the BID will outpace any members who choose to leave the club. This is the most compelling reason to implement the BID.

THE WINE CLUB SHIPMENTS FOR ALL OF CA SALES WILL BE CHARGED. SO THIS INCLUDES A SHIPMENT GOING TO SF, FOR EXAMPLE?
​Correct.  The BID assessment will be applied to all sales that are subject to California sales taxes.
LOOKS LIKE SALES ON THE WEBSITE ARE EXCLUDED, IS THIS TRUE?
Sales to out-of-state customers will not be subject to the BID assessment. Sales to CA customers, including online sales, will include the BID assessment. ​
WILL WE BE THE FIRST WINE REGION WITH A BID?

Yes! Santa Barbara County would become the very first wine region in the world to implement a Wine BID program to fund their promotion. We have been contacted repeatedly by the press, are being considered for a business award for it, and are being carefully followed by other wine regions to see if we can pull this off. The first Wine Country to achieve this will receive incredible accolades; you can’t buy publicity like that!

There are currently three other wine regions in close pursuit of the BID: Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek, and Temecula. Let’s get Santa Barbara County across the finish line first!

DOES THE BID FUND THE SANTA BARBARA VINTNERS?
The Wine BID Management District Plan requires us to designate an Owners Association to manage the Wine BID funds. The Owners Association must be a non-profit organization, governed by those paying the assessment. The Santa Barbara Vintners meets the requirements to serve as the Owners Association, but it will convert to an organization that represents all BID payors. The Santa Barbara Vintners can retain its name or can change its name.  Once the BID has been approved, all assessment payors will be voting members of the Owners Association, with one vote per winery. (Wineries are only weighted for the initial BID approval process.)
WILL VINTNERS STILL HAVE TO PAY MEMBERSHIP DUES?

No! All vintners in the County who pay into the BID become de facto voting members of the new Owners Association. Once the BID is passed, all wineries have equal voting rights, regardless of production size.

The organization will still have Associate Members, Vineyard Members, and Business Members, but all assessed wineries are automatically granted membership.

If the BID is passed, we will have to charge dues for 2020 in order to keep operating the association; BUT, we will refund those dues later in the year when the BID funding starts to be paid out.

WHAT ABOUT DUES WINE? WILL WE STILL HAVE TO DONATE THAT?
Our “dues wine,” also known as “volunteer wine,” is used each year to power our incredible bank of volunteers, who help run our events. We will request a one-case donation from each winery in order to be able to contribute to local silent auctions, thank our volunteers, and give as gifts to VIP visitors. ​
SO, THIS WON’T HURT SALES/VISITATION IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY?
When other districts have been formed, they have not experienced a decline in visitors or business. 98% of all Business Improvement Districts are renewed. This success rate speaks to the satisfaction with the district and its ability to drive visitation for the member businesses.
WILL OTHER WINE REGIONS IMPLEMENT A SIMILAR DISTRICT?
We expect this to happen. As mentioned above, BIDs are currently being explored by vintner groups in Dry Creek, Sonoma Valley, and Temecula. Because it is a reliable, sustainable, and significant form of funding for an industry, we expect the wine industry to discover and implement what the hotels have known for a while.
WHAT OTHER PLACES HAVE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS?
Throughout the state there are currently over 300 BIDs in operation, many are used for tourism promotion and many for business promotion. Other uses for BID’s have been for downtown and main street destinations, neighborhood districts, and for ski destinations. Notable destinations with BIDs focused on tourism and restaurant development include: Sacramento, Carmel, Long Beach, Palm Springs, and San Diego, as well as the Santa Barbara County Tourism Improvement District that supports the Santa Barbara County Visitors Bureau. ​
HOW WILL THE DISTRICT BE ESTABLISHED?
The district will be established under California’s Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994. This law requires a thorough approval process beginning with the submission of petitions from the businesses that will be assessed in the district. In order to move to the next step in the process, we need to collect signed petitions from businesses that together represent over 50% of the projected assessment budget of the district. ​
IS THIS DEFINITELY HAPPENING OR IS IT STILL UP FOR DEBATE? HOW WILL IT ULTIMATELY BE DECIDED?
The passage of the BID will ultimately be decided by the majority of the wine industry signed by petitions of owners representing over 50% of the total BID budget. The submission of petitions allows the Board of Supervisors to consider Wine District formation. The district formation process is being managed by Civitas, the consulting firm who helps tourism boards and hotel districts implement BIDs.
HOW ARE THE VOTES COUNTED? DOES EACH WINERY GET ONE VOTE OR IS IT BASED ON SALES?
It’s based on sales. Your vote counts as the percentage contribution you make to the whole budget the BID generates.

To meet the petition approval threshold for our District, our petition support will have to reach just over $800,000 worth of owners’ support. The bigger DTC wineries have a greater weighting because they contribute more to the budget. Keep in mind that SBC has more smaller wineries than bigger ones, so every vote counts for us. Plus, we want as many people on board as possible!
DO THESE WEIGHTINGS ALWAYS STAY THE SAME? ARE WE EVER EQUAL?
Once the BID is implemented, all wineries have the same voting rights under the Santa Barbara Vintners: one vote per winery, regardless of production size. Weightings are only used for the BID approval process.
DO THE SANTA BARBARA VINTNERS MEMBERS GET COUNTED AUTOMATICALLY ON THE APPROVING PETITION OR DO THEY HAVE TO SPECIFICALLY ELECT TO BE ON THE PETITION?

No, just because you are a Santa Barbara Vintner member does not mean you are automatically included in the BID. Every winery in Santa Barbara County is eligible to support the BID and has to indicate their support.

Each winery owner or a winery representative with the power to engage in contracts (General Manger, CFO, etc.) must sign a petition in support of the district to be counted.

Petitions will be distributed to SBV member wineries, and all non-member wineries will be contacted.

HOW DO I SIGN THE PETITION?

The petition is scheduled to be released on August 15th after the County reviews the Management District Plan. We will then gather the 51% support we need to return to the County by September 30th. We know this is right in the middle of harvest, which is terrible timing, it’s just the way it worked out.

When it’s ready, you will be able to download the petition here.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE PETITIONS ARE SIGNED?

Signed petitions are turned into the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which will initiate the official formation procedures during a public hearing. The Board will then adopt a Resolution expressing its intention to form the district and mail notices to all businesses to be assessed by the district. Those businesses will have at least 45 days to protest to the Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public meeting and a public hearing to give businesses the opportunity to express their opinions. The Board can then adopt a resolution forming the district if no dissenting majority exists.

During the Public Hearing process, the Board of Supervisors will adopt a Resolution Requesting Consent to all the incorporated jurisdictions in the County to operate the Wine BID within their City Limits. The City Council from each jurisdiction will be asked to adopt a Resolution Granting Consent to the County to allow the district to operate within their boundaries.

IS THE DISTRICT ESTABLISHED PERMANENTLY?
No. The district will be established for a period of five years. After those five years, the district can be renewed, following the petition and hearing process again, for up to ten years. ​
IS THERE ANY WAY TO UNDO A DISTRICT?
Once per year, beginning on the anniversary of SBCWBID formation, there is a thirty (30) day period in which owners paying fifty percent (50%) or more of the assessment may protest and initiate a Board of Supervisors hearing on SBCWBID termination.
HOW WILL THE DISTRICT BE MANAGED?
The Santa Barbara Vintners will serve as the Ownership Association and be responsible for managing the Wine BID. Representatives of winery and wine tasting facilities, as well as grower and community businesses, will serve on a Wine BID Advisory Committee that will report to the Santa Barbara Vintners Board. This will ensure that district funds are spent on the most effective programs. ​
IS THERE A WRITTEN DOCUMENT GOVERNING THE DISTRICT?

Yes. The district will function in accordance with a Management District Plan. The plan will be prepared by representatives of businesses paying the assessment during the district formation process. During the formation process the Management District Plan (MDP) will be shared with all wineries and will be on file with the County Clerk. The MDP will contain specific information like the assessment rate, collection, budget, and other activities to be funded. The Resolutions adopted by the Board of Supervisors will also contain these provisions.

WHAT KIND OF OVERSIGHT IS THERE?
Every year, the SBV will be required to submit an annual report to the Board of Supervisors detailing the district’s budget and activities for the upcoming year. In accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, notice of meetings where district business will be discussed must be posted in advance. District records must be maintained in compliance with the California Public Records Act. In addition, the Wine BID Advisory Committee, which is made up of winery and tasting room representatives, growers, and community representatives will provide additional oversight and report to the businesses within the district. ​
CAN THE COUNTY KEEP THE ASSESSMENT MONEY AND USE IT FOR WHATEVER THEY WANT?
No, the BID is not a tax. The money raised with the assessment must be used in accordance with the provisions of the Management District Plan. The money cannot be diverted to the County’s general fund or spent for any purpose other than those given in the Management District Plan. The County may collect the money on behalf of the district but must pass it on to the SBV. The County may retain a small administrative fee for their collection actions. ​
HOW WILL THE COLLECTION OF ASSESSMENTS BE ENFORCED?
Once the district is formed, the assessment will apply to winery and wine tasting facilities, as designated in the Management District Plan. The assessment will be collected by the County on behalf of the Wine Industry. Businesses may be audited to ensure compliance. Audit and penalty fees are applied to wineries found to be out of compliance. As mentioned previously, the 2% assessment will be easy to audit against sales tax records, to which the County has access. ​
HOW IS THE DISTRICT ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHOSEN?
The assessment will be 2% of retail sales revenue occurring in a winery and tasting room within the boundaries of the district. This includes all retail sales to any customer of wine, tasting fees, touring fees, tasting experiences, food pairings and all merchandise. The assessment is anticipated to generate roughly $1.6 million for the wine industry. ​
WHAT WILL THE ASSESSMENT BE?
The Advisory Committee will be chosen by application and vote of the members of the Owners Association .
HOW WAS THE ASSESSMENT AMOUNT DETERMINED?
We used competitive research and took into account a reasonable threshold for consumers. We then collected competitive data and gathered input from a range of wineries to generate an annual budget that supports the goals of the wine industry.

Santa Barbara County wines have achieved international recognition and the region is significantly more ambitious than there is funding to achieve.
THIS SOUNDS LIKE A TAX, IS IT?

No. The assessment, unlike taxes, requires that those who pay the assessment specifically benefit from the assessments paid.  State law explicitly distinguishes taxes from assessments.

The district assessment will not go into a government fund. It will be returned to a non-profit corporation that will spend the money for the direct benefit of the assessed businesses.

Additionally, an assessment differs from a tax because it is requested and approved by the majority of the businesses that pay the assessment, rather than the general public.

Finally, there is 100% transparency on how the money is raised, where it is spent, and what the results are as an outcome of the assessment.

ARE THERE LIMITS ON HOW MONEY RAISED IS SPENT?
There are very strict limits on how the funds raised can be spent. Funds must be spent on programs and activities that directly benefit the businesses paying the assessment – in our case, the Wine Industry – and are outlined in the Management District Plan. All BIDs in California are required to adhere to the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act for transparency. ​
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND THE MONEY ON?
It is a requirement of the law that all funds raised by the assessment specifically benefit those paying the assessment. The programs that are intended to be provided are sales and marketing programs, special projects (i.e. hospitality & sales training programs, special events, wine education and events programs, etc…), community organization programs (community engagement programs, community development initiatives, etc…), and destination product development initiatives.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR ALLOCATING THE BUDGET DOLLARS?
Each year, the Wine BID Advisory Committee may make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors through the Annual Report process to change the allocation of the dollars. Once the dollars have been allocated, sub-committees will recommend specific tactics and programs. The Wine BID Advisory Committee will review the recommendations made by subcommittees on how the dollars will be spent each year. The Owners’ Association’s Board of Directors will approve final budget based on recommendations made by both the Wine BID Advisory Committee and Subcommittees. There will be an annual review of expenditures and full financial audit by a third-party firm.
HOW CAN I BE INVOLVED?
There are several ways to be involved. One is to nominate yourself for appointment to the district Wine BID Advisory Committee. Another is to join one of the sub-committees that will be formed to manage the programs the BID funds. Your active participation is vital, as our success will depend on broad involvement from Santa Barbara County wineries. ​
CAN THE BUDGET DOLLARS BE DIVERTED TO OTHER USES WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION?
BID dollars may only be used for designated BID activities and programs. There are very strict guidelines as to how the dollars can be used and they cannot be allocated outside the service plan. ​
HOW IS EFFECTIVENESS OF THE DISTRICT MEASURED?
The Management District Plan will identify key objectives and metrics for each strategic priority. Accountability reports including an Annual Report, Business Plan, Financial Reports and Marketing/ Economic Impact Reports will be developed and shared with all winery businesses within the district. ​
WILL ALL THE TASTING ROOMS BE DISCLOSING THE ASSESSMENT, OR WILL SOME BE HIDING IT?

To keep things fair, all assessed wineries and tasting rooms will disclose to customers in advance that the assessment is levied throughout the boundaries of the SBCWBID.

This means that every tasting room has a little sign or plaque that says something like: “2% of the retail sale of wine goes to promote and protect Santa Barbara County’s wine industry.” That way, everyone knows it’s happening and no one has an advantage.

You can pay the 2% yourself, incorporate it into the cost of your wine, or pass it on to the customer, but whichever way you choose, they will know it’s happening. (99% of businesses pass the assessment along to the consumer in one way or another.)
On some occasions – say, for VIP customers – you may choose to pay the assessment yourself, and that is your choice. But to keep things fair, all SBC customers will know about the assessment.

HOW WILL THIS WORK WITH MY POS SYSTEM?

Currently, there are two options for collecting the BID.

  1. You can add a line to your receipt that says: SBCWBID Assessment 2%, similar to the tax line.

For example, Orderport is able to add a line item for the assessment. This can be done by contacting their support team.  Their technical team will add an additional line item for the assessment. Many other POS systems have similar solutions and Civitas is working on having instructions for all POS systems by the time the BID is approved.
**Please note that any costs associated with adding the BID to your POS system are reimbursable by BID dollars.

  1. The second way to collect the BID is to incorporate it into the price of your wine. You would do this if you are unable to add the fee to your POS system, such as Square. You might also prefer to do this for larger sales or for your CA wine club members.

Regardless of how you choose to collect the assessment, all tasting rooms will need to disclose that “2% of retail sales are assessed for the protection and promotion of the Santa Barbara County Wine Industry”. This ensures that consumers are not confused by some tasting rooms showing the fee on their receipt, and some incorporating it into the cost.

DOES THIS INCLUDE SALES FROM OUR WEBSITE?

The assessment will be imposed on all California direct to consumer sales, so any website sales that also incur CA sales tax will be assessed.  We have decided only to assess California sales because of our ability to audit the amount of assessments paid against California Sales Tax paid. We do not have any reliable data to project assessments to be paid if we included direct to consumer sales nationally and internationally.

CAN YOU DETAIL OUT THE ANNUAL SALES INFO BY SPLITTING APART THE DTC FROM OVER THE COUNTER TASTING ROOMS VS. DTC VIA WINE CLUB SHIPMENTS?

There is no ability to differentiate between certain types of sales in the available data. All sales revenue subject to sales taxes will be subject to the district assessment.

WILL ONLY MEMBERS OF THE SANTA BARBARA VINTNERS BE SUBJECT TO THE BID OR WILL ANYONE SELLING WITHIN THE COUNTY BE SUBJECT TO IT?

Any winery selling in the County would be subject to the BID. This is why the process is petition based. In order to pass the BID, we need the approval of winery owners representing more than 50% of the district’s annual assessment to take the issue to the Board of Supervisors. At that point, because it is a county-wide assessment, the Board votes as to whether or not it should be implemented, but the entire wine industry has shown majority support.

DOES THIS MEAN I AM NOW A MEMBER OF THE SANTA BARBARA VINTNERS?
Yes! If you pay the assessment, you automatically become a voting member of the Owners Association, currently known as the Santa Barbara Vintners. ​

You can pay the 2% yourself, incorporate it into the cost of your wine, or pass it on to the customer, but whichever way you choose, they will know it’s happening. (99% of businesses pass the assessment along to the consumer in one way or another.)
On some occasions – say, for VIP customers – you may choose to pay the assessment yourself, and that is your choice. But to keep things fair, all SBC customers will know about the assessment.

WHAT KIND OF RECORDS DO I NEED TO KEEP?
We will work with POS systems to make sure that adequate reporting is included as part of their services offered to the wineries. Record keeping will be very similar to sales tax revenue. ​
WOULD THIS ONLY APPLY TO WINERIES THAT ARE MEMBERS?
No, the BID is applied to the entire wine industry and, if successfully formed, the Santa Barbara Vintners will become the Owners Association working on behalf of all owners who pay into the assessment.
WHAT IS THE COLLECTION AND COLLECTION ENFORCEMENT PROCESS?

To remit the BID assessment, you would submit the assessment in a similar fashion as you would sales tax: you collect the assessments as they come in and then send them along to the appropriate party on a quarterly basis.

If the assessment is collected by the County, the County would collect the BID assessments and forward the funds to the Owners Association. Since the County has access to sales tax records, it will be easy for them to audit BID collections from assessed businesses against individual sales tax records.

The Owners Association could also use a third party to conduct BID collections – as the County is currently saturated with numerous additional efforts – but the benefit of using the County to be the collector for our District is that the auditing process is relatively easy.

​If during the auditing processes, the County or third party collection agency finds that an assessed business has failed to submit the assessment, the late assessment will result in penalties and interest charged on delinquent amounts.

HOW CAN I HELP?

So glad you asked!! Some of our vintners are confused or worried about the BID. Other vintners think it’s a fantastic solution to our long-standing problems. It has been incredibly helpful and reassuring to have people sit down with each other, peer-to-peer and talk it through.
If you are supportive of the BID and think you might be able to help your peers understand the value of it, or even just give them some encouragement and reassurance, we would love your help! Equally, if you have concerns and want to talk to someone, email us and we’ll link you up with someone who can explain it.
The vintners association has suffered financial strain for years and never quite been able to keep up with the wine industry’s ambitions. We think this is a fantastic solution that will put us on the map and allow us to achieve.

Need PDFs from the FAQ? Here are versions that you can download.

Download Initial Budget Graph

Download Management District Plan

The Santa Maria Tourism District, Visit Santa Barbara, and Visit the Santa Ynez Valley have written the Santa Barbara Vintners a letter sharing their experience forming and implementing their BIDs. We are sharing their encouragement with you here!

22 August 2019

 

Allison Laslett, CEO
Santa Barbara County Vintners
597 Avenue of the Flags
Buellton, CA 93427

 

Dear Santa Barbara County Vintners,

 

We are excited to hear about your progress in creating a Wine Business Improvement District (BID).

 

Santa Barbara County is covered by three tourism-focused BIDs – one in Santa Barbara, one in the Santa Maria Valley, and one in the Santa Ynez Valley. These programs are funded by assessments that our hotel and lodging businesses collect for collective marketing of each region. Funds generated by these business-led assessments allow us to promote our communities to potential visitors in ways we would not be able to do otherwise.

 

While each BID employs its own unique strategies, we are all more effective at attracting visitors, placing stories in industry and consumer publications, and attracting influencers to pay attention to our offerings because of the funds provided by the BIDs. Because BIDs have a longer life than traditional annual “membership” models, the predictable nature of the funding allows us to pursue consistent strategies and reap benefits over time.

 

Our lodging owners welcomed the opportunity to expand their marketing voice, and participate actively in the leadership and governance of the BIDs. The BIDs allow our constituents to see the value of a unified effort, and they clearly understand that this allows them to be part of something much greater than anything they can individually achieve. It is important to note that two of the three BIDs have successfully renewed their charters beyond their first five-year authorizations and did so with overwhelming levels of support.

 

Additionally, we are not aware of a single instance in which a hotel has lost a customer due to the assessment.
We are excited that you will ‘own’ the enviable position of being the first wine region to successfully pursue a Wine BID. The publicity will be invaluable for all of us. And by taking on this visionary leadership role, SB Vintner’s will not only be an example for wine regions across CA, but across the country.

 

As you know, all three tourism BIDs have embraced our wine industry as a major focus of our tourism marketing. We are proud of the relationships we have built with many of your members and the work we have done together to promote our County and your industry. We are excited about the potential of how much more we can do together once the wine BID is in place and generating dedicated marketing funds.

 

We encourage you to take this step, as the lodging industry has done, and make the decision to create a wine BID – expand your marketing voice and positively impact your business, your industry and our region.


Cheers to your success,

STEERING COMMITTEE

 

The steering committee has been part of the BID formation process since the beginning and is available to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact them or call the Santa Barbara Vintners office and we will put you in touch with someone: 805-688-0881.

 

Alison Laslett: alison@sbcountywines.com
Laura Booras: laura@riverbench.com
Callie Gleason: callie@gleasonfamilyvineyards.com
Stephen Janes: stephen@pencevineyards.com
Katy Rogers: Katy.Rogers@JFWmail.com
Justin Willett: justin@tylerwinery.com