Delaware wine shipping bill may get another shot in 2017

Another effort to legalize direct-to-consumer   wine shipments in Delaware is possible  next year.

 The House Republican Caucus, citing information from the Wine Institute, reported that 44 states allow some sort of direct sales to the consumer.

 According to the Wine Institute, a trade group representing more than 1,000 wineries, 44 states currently allow some form of direct-to-consumer wine shipping.

 Pennsylvania became the latest after a series of reforms to the commonwealth’s cumbersome alcoholic beverage sales system were made.

Utah, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, and Delaware entirely prohibit it, with The First State the lone holdout on the East Coast, the caucus.

The caucus noted that many of the 8,700 wineries in the U.S. are not handled by a distributor.

 State Rep. Deborah Hudson, R-Fairthorne, has sponsored legislation to allow direct-to-consumer wine shipping in each of the last four Delaware General Assembly sessions. The most recent version died in committee during the 148th General Assembly.

During committee hearings, local retailers testified they feared the measure would undermine their businesses. However, studies done by state officials in Maryland and Virginia following enactment of home wine shipping laws there found retail sales rose in both cases, the caucus claims.

 Delaware has a large number of small liquor retailers and bans sales in convenience stores and grocery stores. Pennsylvania recently approved expanding wine and beer sales to grocery and convenience stores with seating.

A new version of the direct-to-consumer wine shipping bill will reportedly be introduced in 2017, although its provisions and sponsorship have yet to be determined.

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