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Proposition 65 Warnings for Wineries 2018: What, How, and Where

The warnings required under Prop. 65 have changed, and so have the requirements for when and where they are needed. You'll find the updated requirements summarized and explained here.

This article applies to:

Compliance with Proposition 65 Warnings
August 27, 2018

All wineries, whether located inside California or in other states, that sell and ship their wines to California residents are required to give two types of warnings required under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, known as Proposition 65 (Prop. 65 for short). While these warnings have been required previously, there are now new requirements that become mandatory on August 30, 2018. This memo is written to help you understand and meet the new requirements.

Note: Businesses with fewer than ten employees are exempt from all Proposition 65 requirements and are not required to provide the Alcohol or the BPA warnings.

The two basic warnings are (1) the Alcohol Warning and (2) the BPA Warning (which now has two versions). Wineries are now required to give these warnings in all the following places:

  • • in the winery’s tasting room,
  • • on the winery’s website or e-commerce portal,
  • • in its printed catalogs or mailings, and
  • • in or on the box containing wine shipped to a California resident.

The Alcohol Warning

You must post a warning sign containing the following new language at the point of sale:

  • WARNING: Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol.

Wineries covered by the 2014 Consent Judgment may continue to use the old Alcohol Warning language*.

* Wineries that opted in to the 2014 Proposition 65 Consent Judgment negotiated by Wine Institute can continue to use the existing Prop 65 alcohol warning. If you are unsure whether your winery opted in to the Consent Judgment, we recommend using the new warning signs. 

The BPA Warning

BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical commonly used to harden plastics. In the alcoholic beverage industry it can be found in tin cans, lids, and screw cap liners.

If you use packaging that contains BPA for your wine the warnings are required. If your packaging does not contain BPA, ask the supplier for a letter certifying that the packaging does not contain BPA. If you have certification that your packaging contains no BPA, there is no need to give the BPA Warning in your tasting room, on your website, or in your shipments to California consumers. If you can’t confirm that your packaging doesn’t contain BPA, then we recommend posting the warnings.

There are two required forms of BPA Warnings: one is required in winery tasting rooms, on winery websites, and in print solicitations; the other is required in or on direct-to-consumer shipments to California addresses.

In your tasting room, on your website, and in catalogs and mailings, you must post the Point of Sale BPA Warning in its newly revised form, which reads as follows:

  • WARNING: Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to the State of California to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov. For a list of products go to: www.prop65bpa.org.

In or on direct-to-consumer shipments to California addresses you must provide the newly required Point of Display BPA Warning, which reads as follows:

  • WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including bisphenol A (BPA), which are known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov. For a list of products go to: www.prop65bpa.org.

Warnings required in winery tasting rooms

The Prop. 65 Alcohol Warning should be provided using one or more of the following methods:

  • • An 8-1/2 x 11-inch sign in no smaller than 22-point type, placed at eye level so that it is readable and conspicuous to customers as they enter any areas where alcoholic beverages are served.

  • • A notice or sign at least 5 x 5 inches placed at each retail point of sale or display in a way that is readable and conspicuous. The warning message must be printed in a type size no smaller than 20-point type and be surrounded by a box.

  • • For alcoholic beverages provided for on-premises consumption (such as tastes or wine by the glass), the warning message must appear on the listing of wines being poured. If there is no menu or list identifying the alcoholic beverages served on the premises, then the warning message must appear on the menu or list identifying the food or other beverages sold on the premises.

Warnings required on DTC websites, catalogs, and mailings

The Prop. 65 warnings must also appear on the winery’s website or e-commerce portal before any sale to a California resident is consummated, even if the shipping winery is located outside of California. If the winery distributes printed catalogs or does direct mailings, the warnings need to be included on those as well.

In these contexts the winery is required to give the Alcohol Warning and, if your packaging contains BPA, the Point of Sale BPA Warning. You must use the exact wording specified in the regulations in these warnings.

Website warnings do not need to be given to consumers located in other states. However, the warning must be placed somewhere on your site that is clearly visible and “prominently displayed” to a California consumer before he or she actually finalizes the purchase of your product. The regulatory agency does not consider a warning to be “prominently displayed” if the consumer has to search for the warning on the winery’s website.

If your website has a location “gate” first, where the consumer is requested to select the state where the wine is to be shipped, then the warnings can appear on any page displayed to a California consumer before the sale is finalized. If your website does not have a location gate first, you could program your website to display the warnings to California consumers once the consumer enters a California delivery address on an order. Otherwise, you could simply display the warnings publicly on any webpage prior to consummation of the sale.

Shipments to California Consumers

On all direct-to-consumer shipments to a California address, the Prop. 65 warnings need to be included in or on the box. The logical way to handle this requirement is to print the required warnings on the packing list or invoice included with the shipment. You must include the Alcohol Warning and, if your packaging contains BPA, you must also include the BPA Warning. In this case, the winery must include the Point of Display BPA Warning, rather than the Point of Sale BPA Warning.

The Wine Institute created the following chart to clarify the requirements: 


Warning signs meeting the new requirements are available, free of charge, in whatever quantity you need at: www.prop65signmanagement.com.

We hope that this memo assists you in meeting the new requirements. If you have further questions you may contact CSA or use the links below to get additional information on the requirements.

Links for additional information on these requirements:

State of California site

ShipCompliant Blog

Compli Blog

State of California site