Saturday, March 10, 2012

Federal TTB New Winery Application Submitted

Ever had one of those anti-climatic moments when something you've been working hard towards is finally done and you're left with a feeling of "that's it?"  Well, I'm having one of those moments right now...immediately after officially submitting the new winery application for Aaronap Cellars to the Federal TTB.

This has been a goal for the past several months that has caused me a bit of aggravation due to the length of time it was taking.  As you can imagine, there's a lot of paperwork involved starting an alcohol-related business in this country so this has required a bit of work and a lot of documentation.  But I really do have to give the TTB credit.  Bureaucracy or not, these folks are trying to make the process as simple as possible.  I've had the very good fortune to submit my application after the unveiling of their Permits-ON-Line (PONL) system that allows you to submit the application electronically.  I recently attended an information session on the PONL system at the Eastern Winery Expo and was amused to hear one of the TTB managers state that "Our job is to help you with your business, not just catch the bad guys."  So far, I have to agree with them.  The PONL system is a HUGE step forward over the complicated paper forms that required repeatedly entering the same information on form after form.  In the PONL system, you enter the repetitive data once, and the system self-enters it wherever it is needed.  How often do you hear praise for the government's customer service???

So today, after finally accumulating all of the supporting documentation required, I was able to hit that final submit button and send my new winery application off for review.  Just need to mail in the paper copies of my surety bond on Monday and then sit back and wait.  Review process usually takes between 60-90 days.

After all that...the moment is very anti-climatic.  Feels like there should be a brass band playing and confetti flying.  Instead, I'm sitting here a little stunned and remembering that I have a final exam to complete for my UC Davis winemaking class, and the MA application needs to be started, and I need to move forward with the town of Westford to get zoning special use and building permits, fiance is coming over tonight and I think I'll open a bottle of Sparkling Concord to celebrate.

Embrace the moment, the other stuff can wait until tomorrow.