MD May be Close to Allowing Wine Shipments
December 21, 2010 - 5:11pm
WASHINGTON - Maryland could soon join Virginia and 36 other states and the District in allowing direct wine shipments.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot released a study Tuesday on how other states execute laws allowing direct shipment of wine.
State lawmakers requested the report as they consider allowing residents to buy wine and have it delivered tot heir doorstep.
Franchot says he personally favors direct wine shipping, and has for years. But he emphasizes the study merely sets guidelines for lawmakers, who will then introduce legislation to permit direct wine shipping.
The study has a number of recommendations:
- Permits should be issued to sellers and those sellers can be in-state and out-of-state wineries, but not wine retailers.
- Permits should be issued to "common carriers" (truckers, FedEx, UPS)
- "Common carriers" should be required to get a signature at time of delivery.
- "Common carriers" should check IDs to make certain the recipients are over 21 when obtaining signatures at time of delivery.
- Deliveries should not be allowed on Sundays.
- Shippers should file quarterly tax returns.
- Quantity should be limited to 12 cases a year (per person, not per household. Virginia allows 24 cases a year.)
The report disputes claims that direct shipment would make it easier for minors to get wine.
The study indicates that states where direct wine shipping is legal have not seen an increase in underage drinking and have limited episodes where underage drinkers have used the direct shipment method to get alcohol. Direct shipping has several deterrents to prevent minors from receiving the wine: There is a "wait time" between the time an order is placed and the delivery and the price of shipments makes it generally too expensive.
Franchot says the consumer would be the biggest winner if direct wine shipments were allowed.
"I think it will be a small boost for the state coffers, but a much bigger boost for employment and good use of agricultural lands for our local vineyards," Franchot says.