Free the Grapes!

    April 19, 2013

Montana House Bill 402 was signed by the Governor on April 13, 2013, and will go into effect October 1, 2013. Thanks to all our friends in Montana for supporting HB 402, and expanding your choice in wine!

HB 402 replaces the flawed connoisseur’s license with a workable wine direct shipping law. Although well intentioned, the connoisseur’s license required consumers–rather than wineries—to obtain a state-issued license. Only 188 licenses were ever issued. This approach did not work in New Jersey or Vermont, either, and those states replaced their laws with one similar to HB 402.

HB 402 permits any out-of-state winery “registered” in Montana to obtain a Direct Shipment Endorsement and sell and ship up to 18 nine-liter cases of wine annually to an individual in Montana who is at least 21 years of age. If a winery is currently selling wine through a wholesaler in Montana, the winery is already registered and will only need to obtain a Direct Shipment Endorsement for an annual fee of $50. (There is a tiered registration fee for wineries not yet registered.) Finally, HB 402 for the first time allows Montana wineries to ship to Montana consumers.

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