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Wine making tax break sought

ST. PAUL - Owners of wineries on Minnesota farms are asking lawmakers give them a tax break like other alcohol makers receive. Legislation by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, would provide excise tax credits for wine and cider makers that pr...

ST. PAUL - Owners of wineries on Minnesota farms are asking lawmakers give them a tax break like other alcohol makers receive.

Legislation by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, would provide excise tax credits for wine and cider makers that produce up to 75,000 gallons a year. No farm winery reaches that level.

Wine makers told a Senate committee Thursday that the state requires them to use at least half Minnesota-grown produce, such as grapes or apples. No other alcohol maker is forced to rely on Minnesota produce.

Tami Bredeson of Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria said her family operation is the state's largest farm winery, with 40,000 gallons a year production. The average farm winery produces 5,000 gallons.

Nan Bailly of Alexis Bailly Vineyard of Hastings said that requiring Minnesota products as input makes it tougher because "we don't always have a crop every year."

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"I call us the hardest-working wine makers in the world, here in Minnesota," Bailly said.

No action was taken on the bill, but it is to be considered for an overall tax bill.

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