PIERRE | Some farm wineries throughout South Dakota compromised with Firehouse Wine Cellars on legislation Thursday that could allow the Rapid City-based company to stay in business.
The House Local Government Committee broke for 10 minutes while the sides worked out the deal.
“It seems we have reached an armistice,” Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, said afterward. She presided as chairwoman for the hearing on SB 187.
Key components are establishment of a state license for wine manufacturers and a repeal date of July 1, 2019, for the license. The year allows further work.
“I have all the ammunition right here, but I’m not going to take it out,” said Jeremiah Klein, a farm-winery owner from Rosholt. “I think we’ve forgotten we need to get along too.”
Klein apologized to the House members “for my scathing emails” and to some competitors for things he said. Then he asked the committee to kill the Senate’s version of the bill.
Roger Tellinghuisen, a former attorney general for state government, represented Firehouse Wine Cellars. “We don’t want to be in the South Dakota wine section anyway. That’s not our goal,” he said.
But Tellinghuisen also warned Firehouse Wine Cellars would be shut down by the state Department of Revenue unless the Senate bill passed.
“That is not the responsibility of this committee,” Rep. Nancy York, R-Watertown, said about the dilemma facing Firehouse.
Rep. Chuck Turbiville, R-Deadwood, offered a rough outline of the amendment with the one-year repeal. Tellinghuisen said Firehouse couldn’t make it if the amount of imported wine used by a wine manufacturer was reduced to 25 percent from 50 percent.
He said Firehouse uses 60 percent now.