Montesquieu Winery Legislative Updates for Direct to Consumer Shipping

September 22, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi

It is hard to believe it is already nearing the end of September—what an eventful, wonderful year so far all around, with much progress made regarding direct shipping to consumers.

Legislative sessions in most states have concluded for the year, so it is an opportune time to check in with relevant updates, including follow-up on bills we outlined earlier in the year.

Florida came through strong as Senate Bill 854 and House Bill 837 fizzled in committee in early May. These bills would have turned the times back to the pre-2006 status of prohibited direct shipping. Also the fourth try by wholesalers to impose a capacity limit failed to proceed. This is great news all around for Florida wine lovers!

Indiana is preparing to undertake a Direct to Consumer (DTC) study, which based on other states that have done the same, will be a helpful push in the pro-shipping direction.  Residents voice your support here!

Pennsylvania is still considering the 3 pro-shipping bills introduced this year Senate Bill 790, Senate Bill 886 and House Bill 110. Discussions are still in the preliminary stages so if you live in Pennsylvania and want to voice support for direct shipping, do so here!

Louisiana added shipping privilege for in-state retailers to match out-of-state retailer rules, raised the case limit for all shippers from 4 to 12 cases annually, and changed the reporting periods from monthly to quarterly.

Massachusetts still has the pro-shipping House Bill 1029 under consideration, which would remove the capacity cap and help resolve a licensing issue with the common carriers that has prevented wine from being shipped directly to consumers under the current statute. This bill will likely not go to vote this year. To voice support for this bill and help keep the momentum going check in here.

New Jersey has until March 2012 to develop a solution following an administrative stay on several pro-shipping bills including Senate Bill 766. Help keep consumer voice alive in New Jersey! Residents can help here.

Congressional Good news recently regarding House Resolution 1161 (formerly H.R. 5034). The main sponsor of H.R. 1161 Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), announced he will not be pursuing the GOP nomination for the Senate seat of Orin Hatch. This announcement was a set back for supporters of H.R. 1161 who hoped that Chaffetz would win the seat and proceed to sponsor the bill in the senate.

After two years of concerted effort including hefty campaign contributions (outlined in our blog post here) wine and beer wholesalers have been unable to find a single member of the Senate to sponsor H.R. 1161.

Even so, there are more than 104 sponsors in favor of H.R.1161 in the House of Representatives and industry representatives are predicting a fall hearing. We continue to encourage wine lovers to visit Free the Grapes at this link to get involved and personalize a message to Congress opposing this wholesaler-backed bill.

We at Montesquieu Wines are in favor of an open marketplace, one which allows wine lovers to choose to order from whichever winery and retailer suits their preference!


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