Wineries: No cross outs on your weigh tags!

It's game on for crush 2013. I now regularly see trucks carrying those familiar white plastic bins on the roads here in Napa. Once the grapes start rolling in things heat up pretty fast. (No fermentation-related pun intended) Things can also quickly become rather chaotic when it comes to harvest related recordkeeping. Specifically your weigh tags. If you are someone who fills out weigh tags- I've got a warning reminder for you: one thing the county and the state do NOT want to see on your weigh tags: numbers that are crossed out. Those numbers would of course be your weights, the gross, tare and net that are filled out on a weigh tag. 

This comes straight from the CA Business & Professions code § 12716.5. CORRECTION OF ERRORS
A certificate on which a weight, measure, or count error is discovered after issuance shall
be corrected by issuing a correction certificate to all parties who were issued the original
The word “INCORRECT” shall be written across the face of the original certificate. The
original certificate number and reason for the correction shall be recorded on the correction

Though this is regulated by the Department of Weights and Measures with the CA Department of Food & Agriculture, the follow up on site auditing is handled by your local county agricultural commissioner offices. It has been my experience with their audits that they don't let you know that they are coming either. But when they do show up they'll request to see your recent weigh tags in the books or other forms they live in and will then sit down and start to look through a random sample. They are looking to see that those tags:

  • Contain certain required fields such as preprinted consecutive numbers, weighing location address, commodity type, and complete signature of the deputy weighmaster
  • That all copies in consecutive number order are there. They don't want to flip through your copies of completed tags and find #'s 12, 13, 14 and 17. (but no 15 & 16) They want to see all consecutive numbers there even your voided tags
  • BIG no-no. Crossed out numbers on your weights. In the event that you need to change your gross or tare weight on a tag you are supposed to void that original tag (write VOID across it) and then start all over w/a new weigh tag.

This is not a comprehensive list of all items that are required to appear on a weighmaster certificate (the official term used by CDFA for a weigh tag) There is actually a nice summary list of the 13 required items along with a sample template you can use to pattern your own after. This is available on the Napa County Agriculural Commisioner's website. Here's a link to access and print out yourself:

Even though you may be knee deep in grapes right now- being aware of how to fill out all those weight tags you're completing NOW rather than having to deal with fix-it issues via a county audit next spring is worth taking the time.

Happy harvest everybody


What does wine production really mean?

napa county logoI've recently read some articles about random audits here in Napa county conducted by the planning office. These random audits occur annually on 5% of Napa's wineries which hold use permits with the county planning office. One of the key items they are looking at during these audits is a winery's production gallons. The term production gets tossed around a lot in the wine business. It means different things to the different people and different agencies connceted to it, and in my world of compliance it has very specific definitions given to it by government agencies such as the county planning office in this case. It is also a specifically defined term used by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB). Do you know the difference in definition between those two agencies and how it can impact your winery?

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Harvest (training) on Sale!

on sale



Yep- it is game on for harvest 2013 from the sights and stories around here in Napa County. Mostly the "early" varietals so far, your lower alcohol wines. I've been hearing from several folks with random crush related questions around their compliance. Nothing like waiting til the last minute! If you haven't seen it already- take a look at my last post with some suggestions for preparing your harvest compliance tasks.   The questions I'm getting are mostly around the topic of weigh tags. Those (regulated) documents used for tracking (& buying & selling) loads of grapes. Do you know whether your weigh tags meet federal, state & county requirements? 

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