Start A Winery

Starting a Winery in the Livermore Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA)


Several types of business ownership are possible, including Sole Proprietorships, General and Limited partnerships, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Limited Liability Companies (LLC), “S” Corporations,“C” Corporations and Cooperatives. Each form has advantages and disadvantages. Consult with an attorney who specializes in these issues before deciding on a type of business ownership.

  1. II. REQUIRED LICENSES, PERMITS AND REGISTRATIONS (The production, sale and shipping of alcohol is regulated.)
    1. a. Local Wineries and Winegrowers Association—Join the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, a great resource.Make appointments with wineries in the AVA to understand how they got started; where they started first and for suggestions on compliance companies or consultants.
      1. i. Determine type and size of winery
      2. ii. Determine sales process/channels
      3. City—The Livermore Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) includes five cities:
        1. Danville,
        2. Dublin,
        3. Livermore,
        4. Pleasanton,
        5. San Ramon,
        6. Parts of Castro Valley and Sunol are in the LV-AVA.
      4. c. County—TheLivermore Valley AVA encompasses two counties: Alameda and Contra Costa.

(Permits, Conditional Use Permits [weddings, corporate events, etc.], Planning, Zoning, Construction, Agriculture, etc.)

  1. i. Alameda County,
    1. 1. Alameda County Resource Conservation District (ACRCD)
      1. a.
      2. 2. Natural Resource Conservation (NRCS)
        1. a.
        2. ii. Contra Costa,
          1. 1. Contra Costa County Resource Conservation District (CCCRCD)
      3. State of California
        1. i. (ABC) Alcoholic Beverage Control
        2. ii. (BOE) Board of Equalization
        3. iii. (OSHA) Occupational Safety and Health Administration
        4. iv. Department of Fish and Game
        5. v. Department of Agriculture
        6. vi. Regional Water Quality Control Board
      4. Federal
        1. i. (TTB) Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
        2. ii. (FDA) Food and Drug Administration
        3. iii. (EPA) Environmental Protection Agency
    1. a. CAWG—California Association of Winegrape Growers,
    2. b. Livermore Valley Winegrowers Assocation, www. (a list of member wineries and growers is available on the website)
    3. c. Los Positas College,
    4. d. UC Davis,
    5. e. Wine Institute,

 Please be advised that these lists of agencies and/or requirements are in no way exhaustive. Anyone considering starting a wine-related business should, and are advised to, consult with legal counsel, tax and accounting professionals and other professionals.