SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Wineries in the state are getting some financial relief. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law that will lower manufacturer licensing fees for wineries 60%, returning them to pre pandemic levels.
“Anytime you can pay less for something, especially in this day and age you’re like ‘Yes, it’s a good thing,’” Diane Hahn, an officer for the Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Alliance (IGGVA), said.
For people renewing online, the fee will be reduced from $1200 to $750. For others who don’t renew online or for wineries that are just starting up, the law decreases the fees from $1500 to $900.
Hahn, who is also the owner and manager of Mackinaw Valley Vineyard and Winery, said it will help level the playing field with other beverage producers like breweries.
“We just want to have the ability to grow and grow in a really healthy way with our businesses, and the state by, I think taking this action, just showed us they’re behind us, they want us to succeed,” Hahn said.
Supporters of the law have also said it will put Illinois’ licensing fees closer to those of other neighboring states like Missouri. IGGVA reports that their fees are capped at $300 a year.
“It just makes our businesses competitive and more equal to our neighbors, which is nice,” Hahn said.
Hahn added that these reduced fees will help wineries save money for other expenses such as the cost of fertilizer, labor inputs, shipping costs, and for materials wineries need to make or bottle wine.
“All those things cumulatively can have a big effect as you start adding all these changes up, so it’s nice to have one thing that’s gone back down to a pre-pandemic kind of normal level,” Hahn said.