Wine and Beverage Alcohol Industry Practice
From our offices in St. Helena in the heart of the Napa Valley and in San Francisco, Farella Braun + Martel LLP is in the unique position to offer our clients the resources of a large, urban law firm with the specialized knowledge, approach and contacts of a local practice. We are more than just lawyers; our wine and beverage alcohol team provides a competitive business advantage to our clients.
Wine Industry Experience
Farella is considered the premier law firm in the wine industry. Our comprehensive wine practice represents currently more than 100 wineries, and has represented nearly all of the publicly traded wineries at various times throughout their history. The firm has played the lead role in merger and acquisition transactions for buyers and sellers of wine industry assets involving both public and private investments. In addition, we work with grape growers, wine makers, distributors, domestic and international investors in the industry, consultants and suppliers of winery and vineyard equipment.
We bring to the table industry knowledge unavailable elsewhere. Farella represents large and small companies, entrepreneurs and families in the viticulture and agribusiness industries on a variety of matters, ranging from simple contracts or real estate leases to complex, tax sensitive business transactions and investments. We also provide environmental and land use advice; litigation and trial proficiency; TTB and ABC licensing and regulatory counsel; estate, business and organization succession planning and tax law concerns. Essentially, we are our clients’ business advisors, legal counsel and comprehensive resource to guide their business and familial concerns. Farella understands the global nature of the wine industry, because we are in the industry ourselves as wine growers and producers. Therefore, we are both providing and implementing our own advice.
Comprehensive Creative Service
We guide companies through significant transitions. Our teams relish the opportunity to structure unusual business ventures and execute the most innovative transaction and litigation strategies. Because the value of alcohol brands and wine businesses has increased significantly, transition is more than just a purchase, sale or familial transaction. A minor misstep could result in significant financial loss or develop into litigation resulting in costly fines and prolonged market entry.
The Farella approach begins with a detailed understanding of our client’s goals, which is followed by a creative, sophisticated presentation of potential solutions and recommended options to the issue at hand. Our dedication to our client is fused with the technical ingenuity unavailable elsewhere to produce legal representation built on service, results and personal commitment.
Recent experience includes:
Minority and majority investment in wine businesses—both cult labels and value brands
Land use permits and variances, erosion control, water and waste water management, lot line adjustments, CEQA and environmental compliance
Estate planning, succession plan development, wealth transfer and protection of assets
Corporate formation and operational development, including winery startups
Due diligence to determine the legal status and market value of brand assets, including complex title, entitlement and permitting matters
Farm management arrangements, grape contracts and distributor agreements
Federal and state licensing
Trademarks and other protection of wine-related intellectual property
Construction claims, distribution rights and obligations, securities and partnership disputes, employment issues, environmental claims, intellectual property conflicts and insurance coverage issues
The Complete Package
Supporting our wine practice is our comprehensive food and beverage alcohol regulatory practice. Farella’s regulatory practice focuses on assisting a wide range of food, spirits, beer and wine producers, retailers, suppliers and distributors comply with the myriad industry regulations and laws in California and throughout the US. Farella’s regulatory practice is nationally ranked for its Food & Beverage (Alcohol) practice by Chambers USA's Guide to America's Leading Business Lawyers.
In the increasingly sophisticated global beverage market, the bandwidth of our lawyers provides the overall strategy beverage alcohol clients need to succeed. Specifically, we counsel clients on federal and state regulations on the production, labeling, marketing and distribution of wine, beer and spirits, as well as on the structuring of licensed entities. In addition, we advise beverage alcohol importers and producers on the Bioterrorism Act, California's Proposition 65, and advertising, consumer protection and privacy, e-commerce, trade practice, antitrust and weights and measures laws. We also advise on the use, protection and exploitation of wine, spirits and beer industry trademarks and brand-related labeling issues.