Direct wine shipping languishes on the committee vine
A blog posting on Eye on Annapolis about The House Economic Matters Committee's vote of "12-8 in favor of the bill Saturday afternoon, falling one vote shy of a majority":
An effort to allow wineries to ship
their wines directly to consumers in Maryland was narrowly defeated in a
Saturday afternoon committee vote.
One of the most discussed issues of the legislative session, direct
wine shipping enjoyed wide support in the General Assembly. Indeed, its
sponsors hail from both parties, represent districts across the state
and comprise a majority of both the Senate and House of Delegates.
But it also had its share of powerful opponents, including alcohol
lobbyists and the chair of a Senate health committee, who has not been
shy in expressing her desire to let the bill languish this year.
The House Economic Matters Committee then became the bill’s only, if
slim, hope. The committee voted 12-8 in favor of the bill Saturday
afternoon, falling one vote shy of a majority.
Del. Dereck E. Davis, the Prince George’s County Democrat who heads
the committee, said the General Assembly will likely elect to study the
direct shipping issue for the remainder of the year and bring it up
again in the 2011 legislative session.
To that end, the Senate has passed its version of the Winery
Modernization Act, SB 858. The act is a compromise between wineries and
the alcohol wholesalers, distributors and retailers that defines what
wineries can and cannot do in Maryland. The bill does not allow for
direct shipping, but was amended
on the Senate floor to include a direct shipping study. An effort
the bill further to include the legalization of direct shipping
nearly led to a nasty floor fight, but was ultimately abandoned in favor
of the study.
Supporters of direct shipping hope the study of the practice in 37
jurisdictions that already allow residents to receive vino shipments
will set the stage for a renewed effort next year.