By Jeremy Evans ‘11
On Wednesday, July 17, 2013, the New Lawyers Division (NLD) of the San Diego County Bar Association put on a Continuing Legal Education ("CLE") program that was entitled "Beer & Wine Law: Transition from Hobby to Commercial." The program was organized by CLE Co-Chairs and Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) graduates, Jeremy Evans '11 and Amanda Thompson '07. Evans was the moderator for the panel. One of the panelists was also a TJSL graduate, Candace Moon '07, the "Craft Beer Attorney" for San Diego, which also happens to the Craft Brewery Capital of the World. Paul Mirowski, wine law, entertainment law, and wine maker and co-owner of Treasure Island Winery/Wines was also a panelist. His winery overlooks downtown San Francisco and the property is under lease with the United States Navy. Lastly, attorney Carolyn Harris, General Counsel for the Ramona Valley Winery Association, and owner of Chuparosa Vineyards in Ramona, was a panelist.
The panelists spoke about the history of Prohibition and whether the United States has actually gotten away from Prohibition-type laws. With the use of U.S. Supreme Court Cases as his legal theory and justification, Paul Mirowski added a personal touch with his Treasure Island Winery/Wines story that centered around his discussions with the local and state government in establishing a winery on U.S. Navy property. Mirowski also discussed licensing and trademarks for winery and brewery owners / makers. Carolyn Harris, also a winery owner, discussed her experiences in helping to draft and argue the finer points of the Boutique Winery Ordinance, San Diego County Winery Ordinance, and the America Viticultural Area in Ramona. These types of laws regulate wineries and breweries as to content, environmental protection, and more. Harris discussed the history of wine making in San Diego County and added that there are more farms, albeit smaller acreage farms, in San Diego County than anywhere else in the Country. Candace Moon provided wonderful insight into federal regulation, California regulation, and local regulation laws, specifically where to find them, how to be in compliance, and how to stay in compliance. She also gave a 'how to' for all attendees on getting a brewery up and running and how to sustain one as well.
Overall, a well-attended CLE (70+), with a networking portion that followed at Karl Strauss Brewery. People must like beer and wine . . . law.