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":

Direct wine shipping languishes on the committee vine

4:28 pm, Sat, Mar 27, 2010

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 to amend 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.

Wineries with Permits

Wineries Able to Ship to MD

Here is a link to the Comptroller's website. Search for "DW-Direct Wine Shippers Permit" under permit type.

Search for wineries


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