Attention Wine Shippers! California’s Bottle Bill Now Applies to Wine

Legal Alert

If you are selling wine into California, the chances are that California’s bottle bill now requires your winery to take additional administrative steps, potentially change labels, and make payments to CalRecycle. See below for a helpful explainer covering the broad strokes of this new regulation.

What is a “bottle bill”?

Generally, a “bottle bill” is a set of state laws that promotes recycling beverage containers. This is done by implementing a system of deposits, refunds, and processing fees on consumers, retailers/redemption centers, and manufacturers/distributors.

Under a bottle bill, a consumer pays a deposit upon buying a beverage container and is paid a refund for returning the beverage for recycling. How the bottle bills implement the deposits, refunds, fees, and unredeemed deposits with respect to retailers/redemption centers, manufacturers/retailers, and state recycling agencies varies by state.

Does California’s bottle bill apply to wine?

Yes! Effective January 1, 2024, California’s bottle bill applies to wine, or wine from which alcohol has been removed, in whole or in part, whether or not sparkling or carbonated, in aluminum, glass, plastic or bimetal containers, and wine sold in a box, bladder, pouch, or similar container.

Does California’s bottle bill even apply to out of state wineries shipping into California?


California’s bottle bill applies to wine that is sold into California, including from wineries located outside of California through either a distributor or directly to a California consumer. A beverage manufacturer that is covered by California bottle bill is any person who bottles, cans, or otherwise fills beverage containers, or imports filled beverage containers, for sale to distributors, dealers, or consumers in California.

How does California’s bottle bill operate?

California’s bottle bill operates differently than other states. In California, distributors that sell eligible beverage containers to retailers must make redemption payments to CalRecycle per beverage sold to retailers, and, in the case of sales to retailers, the cost of these payments is passed on to consumers at the point of sale. Consumers are paid a refund when they return the empty beverage container to a certified recycling center. CalRecycle retains redemption payments that are not ultimately paid out as refunds. In addition, a processing fee is assessed on beverage manufacturers whose beverage containers cost more to recycle than they are worth as scrap value when recycled.

What other requirements are there under California’s bottle bill?

Other requirements under the California bottle include the following:

Registration: beverage manufacturers and distributors must register with CalRecycle online.

Labeling: No later than July 1, 2025, beverage manufacturer shall clearly indicate on all beverage containers sold in California “CA CRV” or similar messages. The label must meet other specifications and be approved by CalRecycle.

Redemption amount:

  • 5¢ for wine sold in glass/metal/plastic/similar container with a capacity of less than 24 ounces;
  • 10¢ for wine sold in glass/metal/plastic/similar container with a capacity of 24 or more ounces;
  • 25¢ for wine sold in a box, bladder, pouch, or similar container.

Processing Fees are required by beverage manufacturers. They vary by container type, and the fee per container amounts are set forth on CalRecycle website.

Unredeemed Deposits become property of program and are used for program administration.

Reporting and Recordkeeping: manufacturer and distributor reports are submitted online. In addition to reporting and maintaining processing fees, manufacturers must keep records of transactions with container manufacturers, disposition of rejected containers, and sales and transfers of beverage containers by beverage manufacturer.

Penalties: civil penalties may be imposed for each violation of California’s bottle bill. CalRecycle can assess civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation for intentional or negligent violations. CalRecycle can assess up to $5,000 civil penalties pursuant to a more informal notice of violation and informal hearing process but can assess beyond $5,000 civil penalties pursuant to more formal notice and hearing procedures.


These changes, while not excessively complex, are a bit convoluted and can take a bit to unwind, and the consequence for failing to comply can be pricey. Accordingly, it’s always wise to check with an attorney for compliance purposes.

Please contact Susan Johnson ( and Max Fujii ( for further questions.

This article is not legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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