SB 355 - This act creates the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. The purpose of the board is to further the growth and development of the grape growing industry in the state of Missouri. In order to reach these goals, the board may participate in activities with other groups and organizations to develop better grape varieties, develop research projects, utilize expertise of the board members and experts in the proper fields of study, furnish information and data to grape growers and vintners, and participate in studies, programs, and information dissemination in the areas of sales, promotions, and effective distribution of Missouri wines.
The principal office of the board will be located in Jefferson City, but it may have offices elsewhere if needed. The board will act as an organization within the Department of Agriculture and receive funding from the "Missouri Wine and Grape Fund".
No officer or employee shall be considered to have given up his or her office or employment by accepting membership on the board.
The act provides that the board will have 11 members. Seven of the members will represent the Missouri grape and wine industry, the food service industry, or the medai marketing industry. These members will be current members of the Missouri Grape and Wine Advisory Board. When the terms of these members expire, the seven positions will be filled by having the Governor appoint new members, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for four year terms. No appointed board member can serve more than two consecutive terms. The board will also have four ex officio members, including the President of the Missouri Grape Growers Association, the President of the Missouri Vintners Association, the President of the Missouri Wine Marketing and Research Council, and the Director of the Department of Agriculture. The members shall be voting members and their terms will coincide with the time they hold the elected or appointed office.
The act provides for the schedule of where and how often the board must meet. It also specifies how many members are necessary for a quorum and voting. The board members can be removed from office by the Governor for malfeasance, neglect of duty, or other cause after notice of a public hearing.
The act requires the board to select a chairperson and vice chairperson. They can also elect other officers if necessary. The board members will not receive compensation for their duties, but they shall be reimbursed for their expenses.
The board must employ an executive director who will serve as the secretary of the board and will administer and manage the affairs and business of the board. The board may also employ experts. The director and other employees will be eligible for all corresponding benefits. The director, as secretary, will be responsible for keeping the records of the board.
To fulfill their goals and duties, the board will have power to:
• Receive and accept aid or contributions for purposes consistent with this act;
• Work with and counsel viticulture and enology experts on the needs of grape producers and wine makers in order to make the best strains of grape varieties;
• Review progress and reports from experts;
• Confer and cooperate with other boards and councils;
• Approve and recommend amendments to these powers; and
• Perform other duties necessary to proper operation of the board.
The board must submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly on the activities of the prior year.
Currently the charges imposed under Section 311.554, RSMo, are deposited to the credit of a separate account in the Marketing Development Fund, created by Section 261.035, RSMo. This act would require such charges to be deposited into the "Missouri Wine and Grape Fund", which is created by this act. There is a six cents per gallon charge for the selling of wine which can only be used for market development in developing programs for growing, selling, and marketing of grapes and grape products grown in Missouri. There is an additional six cent per gallon charge which can only be used for research and advertisement of grapes and grape products in Missouri.