Commerce committee approves Sen. Schmidt’s bill to support Michigan wineries

LANSING, Mich. – The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Wayne Schmidt that would help Michigan wineries by clarifying the companies’ sales and use tax industrial processing exemption.

The measures would also apply to microbreweries and micro-distilleries.

Currently, alcohol producers are granted a tax exemption on processing equipment used to produce wine for wholesale, however, there is some ambiguity as to whether that exemption also applies to wine sold at retail directly by the producer.

“Michigan’s $300 million wine industry is among the largest in the nation and provides jobs for more than 3,000 residents,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Removing this double tax burden promotes the growth of an industry that is incredibly important to the economy of our state and to thousands of hard-working families.”

Marie-Chantal Dalese of the Chateau Chantal winery and Brian Lesperance of the Fenn Valley winery testified in support of the measures before the committee.

“This important legislation will allow wineries to reinvest more into our businesses, which will help create more jobs and attract new customers. It will help promote Michigan’s economic growth as well as ensure Michigan’s wineries are in compliance with the state’s tax laws,” Dalese and Lesperance said. “We thank Senators Schmidt and Brandenburg for recognizing the need for these bills and encourage the Legislature’s support.”

There are 212 wineries in the state. Of those, only 48 offer on-site tasting rooms. Schmidt said wineries are discouraged from offering these rooms because of the uncertainty of the double tax implications. By passing his bill, Schmidt said Michigan’s wine and tourism industries would benefit as it would prevent double taxation from occurring and encourages industry growth.

Senate Bill 369 and its companion, SB 370, sponsored by Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, now advance to the whole Senate for consideration.


Photo caption: Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, and guests, Brian Lesperance of the Fenn Valley winery (center) and Marie-Chantal Dalese of the Chateau Chantal winery (right), testified before the Senate Commerce Committee in support of Senate Bills 369-70, which would help Michigan wineries by clarifying the companies’ sales and use tax industrial processing exemption.

Sen. Schmidt tours ‘Fab Lab’ demonstration at Capitol

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, visited with Jeff Gardner and staff from North Central Community College and Northern Lakes Economic Alliance during an event at the state Capitol on Wednesday to promote the groups’ Fab Lab initiative. Fab Lab is a state-of-the-art mobile training classroom designed to help prepare students for high-tech computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining careers.

The mobile lab is a 44-foot self-contained classroom that expands to offer students 430 square feet of space to utilize its CNC training equipment.


Editor’s Note: Video of Sen. Schmidt touring the Fab Lab is available here:

Sen. Schmidt announces June coffee hours

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt announced he will be holding several coffee hours throughout the 37th District next month.

The senator will be available to answer questions and provide information and assistance, as well as take suggestions on issues affecting communities and businesses in the district. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to contact Schmidt, please visit or call 517-373-2413.

Sen. Schmidt’s June coffee hours are as follows:

Monday, June 1
5 – 6 p.m.
Grand Traverse Pie Co.
101 N. Park St.
Traverse City, MI

Monday, June 8
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
The Villager Pub
427 Bridge St.
Charlevoix, MI

Friday, June 19
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
North Perk Coffee
410 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI


Schmidt: Free fishing weekend is June 13-14

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Wayne Schmidt reminded Michigan anglers that the Summer Free Fishing Weekend will be held June 13 and 14.

“There’s nothing quite like a summer day spent fishing northern Michigan’s lakes and streams,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “We are blessed with some of the best fresh water fishing on the planet and I encourage residents to take advantage of this opportunity for a free weekend of fishing with family and friends.”

The twice-per-year event, put on by the state Department of Natural Resources, waives all fishing license fees so participants may fish both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish at no charge. All fishing regulations do still apply.

Michigan offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world, with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and 36,350 miles of rivers and streams.

For more information on the Summer Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit