That Other Wine Bill: Maryland Winery Modernization Act

A blog posting on Vinotrip about the Maryland Winery Modernization Act (HB-921), which "seeks to clarify what a winery can and cannot do":

That Other Wine Bill: Maryland Winery Modernization Act

Lost in all the crying in my Merlot over wine shipping has been the progress of another wine bill casually making its way through the Maryland House this spring. The Maryland Winery Modernization Act (HB-921) is the major legislative effort from the Maryland Wineries Association.

Running a winery includes a lot more than just making wine. These days you need a tasting room, a wine club, online retailing and shipping*, Twitter, Facebook and in between all this you have to turn out good wine and a good price. Much like running anything alcohol related in Maryland, putting together all of these components means navigating an extraordinarily complicated sea of regulations, each with an enforcer ready to fine you if you turn the wrong direction. Worse, the regulations vary from county to county. Wineries in one county may offer tables to sit in the tasting room, something which may be prohibited in the next county over.

Enter the Maryland Winery Modernization Act. The Act seeks to clarify what a winery can and cannot do. Included are provisions to establish a permit for selling wine at farmers markets and allowing the serving of specified foods in a wineries tasting room.

The Act, looking all but certain to pass, has picked up a heavy tailwind of support in the wake of the doomed voyage of the RMS Wine Shipping. Some legislators who oppose direct shipping have called the Modernization Act a compromise, as if the liquor lobby is throwing us winos a bone and hoping we’ll be happy enough to let direct shipping slide. “We’ll pass this,” they’re saying, “If you guys will finally stfu about direct shipping.”

More coverage of the act from the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Business Journal.

*Not applicable in Maryland

And now a word from our sponsors:

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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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