I got a lump of coal in my decanter this year. Vinfolio,
my former employer and current wine retailer of choice, has stopped
shipping wine to Virginia. Word is that previously un-enforcable tax
laws and laws governing third-party shippers are suddenly getting lots
of attention. Many retailers who wish to play by the rules are deciding
it is easier to just not play at all.
So this leaves Washington DC as a sixty square mile oasis into which
wine may be shipped. Wine enthusiasts located in Virginia, Maryland,
Delaware, and Pennsylvania can flock to the nation’s capital for their
But wait! There is hope! A few articles went around in November
about retailers that are lining up on the side of direct wine shipping
to Maryland. WJZ.com gets the link.
“As a store owner that specializes in Maryland produced
wines, I understand the problems facing the survival and growth of our
state’s wine industry,” Birney said. “The distributor side of
(Maryland’s) three-tier system does not care about our local wineries
and small businesses.”
Direct shipping to Maryland residents will not hurt the local wine
shops. Instead, as Maryland residents suddenly get access to a world of
wine that was previously unavailable, enthusiasm for wine will
increase, helping sales at the shops. Further, allowing Maryland
wineries to ship to residents located in their own state will
seriously help local wineries and agriculture as well as promote
interest in Maryland wine. It is an economic win on all sides.
There are also a few good quotes from Baltimore Delegate Carolyn Krysiak, who you may remember opposed this legislation in 2008. Krysiak now supports direct wine shipping into Maryland and plans to so-sponsor a bill in the 2010 session.
“We encouraged wineries to take a risk and start their businesses and
now we’re throwing roadblocks in front of them,” Krysiak said. “I feel
some sense of obligation to people who took this gamble in our state.”
Well, good. Score one for the good guys.
Again, leading the charge this year will be the good people at the Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws.
Shoot them an email (or a donation) of support and don’t forget to
lobby your local Maryland senators and delegates. Legislative session
starts in January and I’ll keep posting about updates as they happen.