New Wine License Plates Will Bolster Washington Tourism Funding

WASHINGTON — Wine lovers in Washington will soon have a new way to show off that love, while helping to boost tourism for the Evergreen State.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday signed House Bill 1530, creating a new specialty Washington wine license plate. The plates will cost $40, and depict a landscape of Washington’s wine country. Money raised by plate sales, plus the annual $30 renewal fee, will head to State of Washington Tourism, and will be used to market and develop tourism efforts across the state.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Kelly Chambers (R-Puyallup) has been fighting for this legislation for several years now, and says it will be a boon for Washington winemakers and other tourist attractions.

“I am so grateful the third time was the charm with this bill,” Chambers said. “Not only was there tremendous grassroots support for creating a Washington wine license plate, but there was also overwhelming support from lawmakers in both chambers. The revenue generated from sales of the plate is really going to help our tourism industry, as well as our small mom-and-pop shops, hospitality businesses, local restaurants, and Main Street retail.”

Chambers says the funding will be especially helpful for these industries as they pull themselves out of a pandemic slump.

“In recent years, they have survived lockdowns, mandates, and onerous regulations,” Chambers said. “I’m pleased we’re going to be able to support them with the revenue generated by this bill as they continue recovering from the pandemic.”

Some 4,000 Washingtonians signed a petition in favor of the specialty plate, according to Chambers’ office.

Winemaking has been a growing part of Washington’s tourism industry. The Evergreen State is home to 1,050 licensed wineries, using a combined 60,000 acres of land to make more than 17 million cases of wine each year, and making Washington the second-largest wine producing state in the U.S.

The plates will be available starting November 1.

Source: Bellevue Patch