Brasfield, owner of Cygnus Wine Cellars in Manchester and president of
the Maryland Wineries Association, said that while wineries would
benefit from being allowed to direct ship, the group is not getting
involved with the bill this year.
|Dylan Slagle/Staff Photo
Winemaker Sarah O’Herron pours wine for Anne and Win Boyer, of
Parkville, and Lisa and Marc Austin, of Woodbine, during a tasting at
Black Ankle vineyards in Mount Airy Jan. 24.
issue of direct shipping is and always has been and will continue to be
a consumer issue,” Brasfield said. “Our taking that issue to the
legislature will go absolutely nowhere.”
Instead, the wineries
are focusing on their own bill, the Maryland Winery Modernization Act,
which will take care of about 20 other problems in the wine industry,
said Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries
“Overwhelmingly, our industry chose to support this
bill with all of its many, many fixes in it, things that we’ve been
writing about, reading reports about over the last few years, about
things that have been wrong with our alcohol law,” Atticks said.
“Shipping is one impediment, and our bill moves to fix about 20 of
These issues were cited in the 2008 report “Impediments
to Growth: Regulatory and Statutory Challenges Facing the Maryland Wine
Industry,” Atticks said, written by the Governor’s Advisory Commission
on Maryland Wine & Grape Growing. The MWA surveyed its members
about which issues to pursue in the 2010 session, and those with the
highest ranking were included in the legislation.
Winery Modernization Act was written to define what a winery is and
what it can do, Brasfield said, because state and county laws have
always had trouble with trying to make wineries fit into other law
categories, such as retail stores, restaurants or farm stores.
want to minimize the confusion and misunderstanding about what wineries
are and what we do as a normal part of our business,” Brasfield said.
Lambrecht, co-owner of Serpent Ridge Vineyard in Westminster, said he
and the MWA are optimistic the bill will get passed this year because
the legislation was written with the help of other groups that may have
been opposed to similar bills in previous years.
partnered with the other folks in the liquor and wine industry here in
Maryland just to basically bring our laws up to date,” Lambrecht said.
“They’re very ancient, they haven’t been updated in a long time, and I
think it will help everyone for us to get that modernization act