Oregon has no sales tax. State income tax rate is 9%. Vehicle registration tags are around $35.00 and good for two years. Property tax rate for residential property is capped at 1.5%.

Most vineyard land is zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) and enjoys a farm deferral status, which lowers the property tax rate substantially, as long as the property is in agricultural use. Growing wine grapes is treated as an agricultural use. A bill passed by the 1999 Oregon legislature to exempt personal property (winery equipment) from county personal property taxes was vetoed by former Governor John Kitzhaber.

Homesite permits

Currently, state regulations are very strict about building a home on agricultural property. Basically, in order to build a home on property zoned as EFU you must:

  • have an existing home or mobile home on the property, which you may either live-in or expand, or remove and rebuild at the site of your choice on your property;
  • have an existing homesite approval for the property;
  • or prove a gross agricultural income of $80,000 from the property for the last two years, or three years of the last five years. The latter can be achieved in five years with 30 acres of grapes.

Should you want to buy only a portion of a larger parcel, remember the various counties have minimum lot size requirements in their zoning regulations.

Winery building permits

If you have 15 acres of grapes in the ground in an EFU zone, the right to build a winery is an outright allowed use.

A permit can also be obtained by way of a Conditional Use Permit, which is a county government process that is primarily dependent upon the goodwill of your neighbors and any other special interest group. The rule here is: find out who your potential enemies are, and make them your friends.

Food service issues in a winery are county-regulated. Catered functions are generally acceptable and common. Many wineries are available for special occasions, such as weddings, banquets, and concerts.

A vineyard in the Willamette Valley.