Bills Filed to Allow Direct Shipment of Wine in MD
By Scott Graham
Baltimore Business Journal, Staff
Friday, January 28, 2011
Wine lovers may want to toast to this news.
Lawmakers in both sides of the Maryland General Assembly filed on Friday legislation that would permit direct shipping of wine to consumers. The bills — House Bill 234 and Senate Bill 248 — would allow wineries and retailers to ship wine directly to buyers so long as they are permitted to do so.
Currently, Maryland is one of 13 states that don’t allow direct-to-consumer wine shipments. But the issue has been debated in Maryland for years, and it gained momentum earlier this year when a report released by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot supported direct shipping from in-state and out-of-state wineries. The report did not favor direct shipment from out-of-state retailers.
“Responsible Maryland adults want to order domestic and imported wines from wineries and retailers just as they do other consumer products,” John Hesse, executive director of Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws, said in a statement Friday afternoon. “This legislation as it stands will finally bring Maryland into the 21st century.”
The leading argument against direct wine shipping in Maryland has been that it could contribute to under-aged drinking.
The House bill was filed by Del. Jolene Ivey, D-Prince George’s, and will be heard in the House Economic Matters Committee.
Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, introduced Senate Bill 248, which will be heard by the Senate Educational, Health and Environmental Matters Committee.