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California State Relations

Wine Institute is the leading voice for California wineries in public policy issues around the state. Our California State Relations Department advocates at the state and regional level, with three staff members located in the Sacramento office.

Wine Institute California State Relations Team
State Relations Team: (l-r) Tyler Blackney, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Director; Tim Schmelzer, VP California State Relations Director; Adam Kotin, Environmental & Regulatory Affairs Director.


Working at the direction of Wine Institute’s Public Policy Committee and Environmental Committee, the California team works to positively impact policy decisions on a broad range of issues, including:

Alcohol Policy

Covers advertising, alcohol server training, licensing privileges, restrictions, and exemptions, direct to consumer sales, and alcohol related offenses.

Labor & Employment

Covers promoting sound and economically sustainable worker protections, while preventing overly burdensome requirements on California wineries.

Water & Land Use Policy

Covers water rights, availability, and quality, wastewater discharge, wildlife habitat, and environmental sustainability.

Litigation Liability & Regulation Reform

Covers efforts to prevent additional laws and regulations from increasing liability on California wineries.

Air Quality & Emissions

Covers promoting science-based approaches to managing emissions from wineries and vineyard properties.

Agriculture & Crop Protection

Covers grant programs, farmworker housing, funding for crop protection research, and promoting science-based approaches to crop management.

Recycling, Single-Use Packaging, & Bottle Deposit Laws

Covers promoting California wines as being environmentally sustainable, while ensuring that California’s recycling and packaging laws are workable and cost effective.

Tax Policy

Covers excise tax, sales and use tax, corporate tax, income tax, estate tax, etc.


Wine Institute members may contact the California State Relations team for assistance at