Wine is an important agricultural product in Oregon that is part of many farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets that have wine vendors next to cheese and artisan breads report good cross marketing from these pairings.
Estate-grown wines are farm-direct, but other wineries buy grapes to make their wine. If your guidelines require farm direct or you would prefer it, ask prospective wineries whether they buy none, some or all of their grapes and what is their long-range plan. Perhaps they’d be willing to showcase only varieties that meet your needs.
Wine and other alcoholic beverages, such as hard cider and beer, are regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Wineries in Oregon farmers’ markets generally are able to arrange proper licensing for sampling and bottle sales without difficulty. If the goal is sales by the glass, you may need to work more closely with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to resolve any concerns about access of minors to alcohol.
Typically vendors apply to OLCC for a Special Event Winery or Special Event Grower permit, and their employees at the farmers’ market will need a service permit. For an overview of special event winery licensing, click here.
Wine vendors will need to allow time to complete the licensing process, especially the first time they apply for each market site. OLCC has five offices that cover the state’s 36 counties.
The Department of Administrative Services has juridiction over state property. Recently DAS agreed to allow wine and beer sampling at the Salem Saturday Market, which operates on state property. Contact that market if you are considering a market on state property and want to allow sampling.