NAPA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After years of turmoil over wine direct shipping, a ceremonial signing of House Bill 1175 and Senate Bill 248 on May 10 will mark a turning point for Maryland consumers, who will be able to receive wine shipments directly from wineries licensed by the state to ship. Pending development of licensing parameters from the Maryland Comptroller, and approval for common carrier shipments, shipping should begin in the months following the bill’s effective date of July 1, 2011.
“A special thank you needs to be extended to supporters for consumer choice in the state legislature,” said Jeremy Benson, executive director of Free the Grapes! “And this would not have happened without Adam Borden and the Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws, Kevin Atticks and the Maryland Wineries Association, Wine Merchants Association of Maryland, Maryland Farm Bureau, Wine Institute, and Maryland wine lovers! Without their advocacy and patience over the past decade, Maryland would still be in the dark ages.”
While this is a major win for consumers, who will be able to order wines from their favorite wineries, the local retailer lobby ensured that retailers were excluded from the bill. “The coalition of supporters is encouraged by legislator comments in the press that indicate a willingness to make such improvements in the future,” Benson stated.
Maryland will become the 38th state that allows consumers to purchase wines directly from licensed wineries. These states plus Washington D.C. account for 85% of US wine consumption.
But a dark cloud threatens progress in Maryland, and consumer choice in wine across the nation. U.S. House Resolution 1161 was introduced in March at the request of the National Beer Wholesalers of America with the support of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. HR 1161 is special-interest legislation that pretends to protect the public and reaffirm states’ rights. But HR 1161 is really intended to put more money in the wholesaler middlemen’s pockets by doing an end-run around the U.S. Supreme Court and pre-empting the Constitution. The bill would give wholesalers unfettered monopoly power to pass discriminatory state laws that would ban direct shipping; harm wineries, brewers and distillers, as well as businesses, jobs, and state and local economies.