DENVER – Budding oenologists have some friends at the state Capitol who want to level the playing field with other practitioners of zymology.
Or in English, amateur winemakers might have restrictions lifted so they would fall under the same laws as other homebrewers.
House Bill 1145, which would allow amateur winemakers to participate in wine-making contests so long as only the judges taste their wine, was passed on a unanimous 13-0 vote by the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee
“I believe we have over 140 wineries in the state of Colorado, and it’s great to open up the industry to amateur winemakers for exposure,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver and sponsor of the bill.
While the bill allows for homemade wines to be entered into competitions, it doesn’t allow for the sale of them, Herod said.
By allowing amateurs to compete, Herod said she hopes some of them would create their own companies and continue to promote this as a viable business in Colorado’s diverse economy.
HB 1145 enjoys bipartisan support, with Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, sponsoring it in the Senate.
“Quite frankly, Colorado’s wine, beer and spirit industry is not a partisan issue, and we need to make sure we are doing everything that we can to support local business,” Herod said.
Having passed committee, the bill will next receive two readings in the House before a final vote is taken. If it passes, it would move to the Senate.
During Thursday’s hearing, there was little discussion, but Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, did ask one very poignant question.
“I just want to know, is the wine any good? Have you sampled any?” Rosenthal asked.
“I have not, but I look forward to it if this bill should pass,” Herod answered.