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Sen. Dodd: UC Davis Wine Sales Bill Approved By Legislature



SACRAMENTO – A proposal from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would allow UC Davis to sell wine made by viticulture and enology students, generating funds for the university during uncertain financial times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, was approved late Sunday by the Legislature.


“With the significant challenges facing the university system today, we must take every opportunity to support this program so it can be around for future generations,” Sen. Dodd said. “Previously, the school would simply dump the wine crafted by these promising young vintners. It seemed like a waste then and that’s especially true today. I thank my fellow lawmakers for helping them make this positive change.”


UC Davis’ viticulture program was established in 1935 following the repeal of prohibition. It has since become a center for innovation and a model of sustainability. Historically, the university disposes of wine produced by students due to a quirk in state law. Senate Bill 918 continues earlier legislative efforts to change that, allowing the issuance of a sales license to a nonprofit entity to sell up to 20,000 gallons of wine a year.


The bill passed the Senate and Assembly, and heads next to Gov. Gavin Newsom for a signature.


“As we face uncertainty from the current wildfires and pandemic, the passage of this bill by both houses gives us hope that we will have the opportunity to recover a portion of our winery’s operating costs through wine sales,” said David Block, viticulture department chair. “I appreciate everything that Sen. Dodd and his staff have done to get the bill this far. Its passage will go a long way toward helping us to maintain the excellence of our core missions of teaching, research, and extension.”