Who runs the show at your winery when it comes to TTB compliance? Contrary to what or who may have come to mind after reading the title here the direction I’m heading with this post is geared towards your winemaking records and reporting activities. Particularly those which are regulated by the TTB, which happens to be most of them. My next question is do you know who has power of attorney filed with the TTB for your site? If you don’t know here is why you not only need to and why it makes good compliance sense to know.

Power of attorney is essentially what the TTB calls signature authority. For the records and reports that wineries are required to maintain and file to the TTB the person who signs these reports must have a signature from an owner or officer of the winery or if they are not in that category then they must have a power of attorney form on file with the TTB. Now what I often have heard occurring is that the person responsible for maintaining the records and completing the reports then takes them to the owner or officer for their signature before sending it to the TTB. While this works to meet their requirements in my opinion it doesn’t make sense. That same person who has the most familiarity and ownership of the winery’s record numbers should also be signing off on them. It is like you or I signing our name to a book we didn’t write. Were somebody to ask us about it later we would not look good stammering and having a blank look on our faces.

I mention this because the other reason that power of attorney needs to be given to those responsible for TTB records at your site is that in the event of an audit or for any ongoing correspondence with the TTB they will not interact with anyone who does not have POA. So setting them up with POA gives them full ownership of their position. They know the records information the most intimately which makes them the perfect candidates to speak with the TTB about it.

The other key suggestions I have in regards to POA details at your site is to keep all of the filed copies organized together in two forms:

  • Hard copies kept together in a file. The originals of these should stay in the hardcopy files along with all your other TTB permit materials and correspondence and be kept by your records person.
  • Digital copies saved onto the record person’s computer in a “compliance” folder.
  • Create a spreadsheet which lists all persons at your site with either signing authority as an owner or officer plus each individual with a filed POA.

To access the TTB’s POA form you’ll find it here: http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f50008.pdf


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