10 Reasons to Attend DTC Wine Symposium

    January 14, 2014

January 15, 2014

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Massachusetts: Vote on Favorable Bill Expected Winter 2014
As previously reported, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure added our direct shipping bill to the list of more than a dozen bills heard on November 12. Committee chair Senator Thomas Kennedy added the bills to the previously scheduled hearing, saying, “I have heard from an overwhelming number of Massachusetts residents on this piece of legislation.”

Industry representatives anticipate the Committee will vote on the bill in the next few months.

Pennsylvania: Support DTC Shipping in January!
As previously reported, there are several wine direct shipping bills in play in the Keystone State. It now appears that direct shipping language will be included in a larger “modernization” bill and voted on in the Senate by the first week in February. In addition, we are tracking several freestanding direct wine shipping bills. Wine industry representatives continue to work closely with PA legislators to pass a wine shipping law that expands choice for wine lovers while avoiding onerous taxes.

ACTION: Include a paragraph on PA in your January and February consumer e-newsletters, and post it on Facebook. Consumers there are doing a great job writing letters to their legislators in support of our cause. Click here for copy to use.

What’s in Store for 2014?
Some clear priorities for 2014 include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • NJ: Fix it legislation to correct the onerous corporate reporting and tax requirements
  • SD: There is a campaign underway to pass enabling legislation
  • DE: A new bill is expected
  • VT: The state alcohol regulators will conduct a regulatory review of DTC laws (tax collection, shipping infractions, etc.) in advance of any legislative fix. Wineries can expect an extra level of scrutiny in shipments to VT.

Attend the DTC Wine Symposium for a complete picture of 2014 priorities — Steve Gross, Vice President of State Relations at Wine Institute, delivers his “State of the States” presentation to describe where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

10 REASONS TO ATTEND THE 2014 DTC WINE SYMPOSIUM (if you still need them)
January 22-3, 2014, South San Francisco Conference Center

For next week’s event we are expecting a large turnout, an exciting program of speakers, and the most diverse group of industry sponsors of any DTC Wine Symposium.

If you are looking for more reasons to register for the 7th annual summit, here are ten:

  • First Presentation of 2013 DTC Data: ShipCompliant and Wines&Vines have moved up publication of their highly informative annual Direct Shipping Report to coincide with the DTCWS. Jeff Carroll from ShipCompliant will give the first public presentation of the 2014 report.
  • Hear Tips from Other Luxury Marketers: A panel of senior execs from XOJET, Cathay Pacific and others will share how they engage today’s luxury consumer, and how that might translate to your winery.
  • Learn How you can Benefit from the “Visit California” Campaign: For the first time, the DTCWS will include a ‘State of Wine Tourism’ presentation by “Visit California’s” VP Marketing.
  • Get the Sneak Peek at Wine Market Council’s Report on Winery Wine Club Members: In anticipation of his presentations in New York and Santa Rosa on January 28 and 31, WMC President John Gillespie will present aggregated highlights of the Council’s in depth survey of U.S. winery wine club members. (For info on the WMC conferences, visit  http://winemarketcouncil.com/conference/)
  • Find Out Which States You’ll Target Next: Steve Gross’ popular legislative wrap up will show you what states you might be adding next to your DTC program.
  • Glean Insights from FedEx’s User Group Session: FedEx, a 7-year Platinum sponsor, has scheduled its own client session on Day 1 to help you focus on the impact of how FedEx’s delivery options will help you grow your US and global DTC sales.
  • Network! Now you have 2-days of schmoozing. We anticipate at last 400 total attendees, primarily marketing, club and tasting room managers, senior managers, owners. The DTCWS is a “big tent” – we’re all there to learn, make new contacts, recruit new suppliers and staff, etc. There’s even a session on career development.
  • Decide on Your Partners for 2014: Where else can you talk to Snooth, WineDirect, FedEx, eCellar, bLoyal, UPS, Amazon, Nexternal, VinoVisit, WISE, and many more…all in one place? Don’t miss the Day 1 Wine Reception on the Trade Show floor!
  • Convenient for Travelers: The conference center is a quick 5-minute cab ride from SFO. Easy in, easy out.
  • Worthwhile Conference, For a Great Cause. Your participation helps the whole industry to open new states and streamline existing regulations.

Here are links to important information:

Bay State Legislators to Address Wine Direct Shipping Bill

    November 8, 2013

Long Awaited Hearing Scheduled for November 12 at State House

November 8, 2013, Napa, CA – Massachusetts legislators have scheduled a hearing on House Bill 294, which promises to replace an unconstitutional law with a proven wine direct shipping solution, according to Free the Grapes!, a national coalition of consumers, wineries and retailers seeking legal, regulated wine direct shipping. www.freethegrapes.org

The Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will be hearing more than a dozen bills – including several wine direct shipping bills—on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 between 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM in Gardner Auditorium at the State House. Consumers may attend the session although it is not known exactly when the direct shipping bills will be considered.

Authored by Representative Theodore (Ted) C. Speliotis, H. 294 includes language similar to wine direct shipping laws now in place and working well in the majority of U.S. states. The bill requires the state to issue wineries a permit to ship wine directly to consumers, and licensed wineries are required to pay excise taxes, report shipments and limit the amount of wine shipped to consumers, among other provisions.

Bledsoe’s Media Blitz
The bill received widespread support at consumer wine events earlier this year, and a visit to Boston by Drew Bledsoe. Free the Grapes! met with thousands of wine lovers attending three popular wine events in Boston, the Boston Wine Expo in February and the Second Glass “Wine Riot” events in April and October.

In March, former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe blitzed Boston in support of wine direct shipping. The former NFL star is now proprietor of Doubleback Winery in Washington state. “Everyone wins with HB 294 – wine lovers get access to the wines they want, wineries have a proven set of regulations, and the state collects additional tax revenues,” said Drew Bledsoe.

Background
A Massachusetts law barring winery-to-consumer shipments from wineries producing more than 30,000 gallons per year and who retain Massachusetts wholesalers was ruled unconstitutional by District Court Judge Rya Zobel, and then affirmed by the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2010. The legislature was expected to conform to the ruling by passing a bill similar to the model bill.

In 2011, House Bill 1029 was introduced to conform to Judge Zobel’s ruling, but it languished in committee throughout 2012. House Bill 294 was introduced January 18, 2013.

Massachusetts is the second largest of nine states that currently prohibit winery-to-consumer wine shipments. The other states include: Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Register Now for 2014 DTC Wine Symposium

    September 16, 2013

Update as of September 16, 2013

REGISTER NOW FOR 2014 DTC WINE SYMPOSIUM!
The 7th annual summit on direct marketing and sales will take place January 22-3, 2014, at the South San Francisco Conference Center.

What’s new for 2014? A lot! What follows is a brief update of the program schedule:

January 22: 2:00pm – 6:00pm

  • User group meetings for club managers and tasting room managers
  • An update on current DTC research
  • “State of Wine Tourism” session moderated by Brian Baker, Chateau Montelena, and including panelists Lynn Carpenter, VP Marketing, Visit California, and Chris Thornberg, Founding Partner, Beacon Economics, who will present the latest economic trends and a new research tool designed for winery associations and their members
  • Wine Reception and Trade Show.

January 23: 8:30am – 3:45pm

  • “State of the States” preview of the coming year in legislative initiatives by Steve Gross, Vice President State Relations, Wine Institute
  • Keynote and research presentations: Speakers and topics to be announced soon
  • Trade Show: Review all the key suppliers in one place, at one time
  • Workshop Sessions:
    • Wine Club Makeover: How to Refresh Your Wine Club
    • The Tasting Room Experience: Mapping Your Guest Journey
    • Social Media: Creating Your Editorial Calendar
    • Leadership: Taking Charge of Your DTC Career
  • 3:45: We’ll have you back on the road.

As of early September, trade sponsorships are nearly 50% sold out.

Register Now to Enjoy Early Bird Discount: www.dtcwinesymposium.com . Check the website for updates on topics, speakers and moderators, as well as a return of the Video Contest for 2014!

The DTC Wine Symposium has funded Free the Grapes! actions this year including a press blitz in Boston, participation at Boston Wine Expo and Wine Riot, and thousands of letters of support from consumers to their state representatives. Net income also funds litigation – e.g., Massachusetts – coordinated by Coalition for Free Trade. These two organizations have worked successfully with local associations and industry representatives to increase the number of legal states from 17 to 40, representing 89.5% of wine consumption.  

LEGISLATIVE NEWS
Massachusetts: Summer Ends without Hearing on DTC Bills
Industry representatives anticipate that the state legislature will reconvene in mid-September and schedule a hearing on the favorable House Bill 294. Please continue to encourage your consumers to visit www.freethegrapes.org and take two minutes to write their legislators. Just click here for copy that you can use, or visit the Massachusetts tab on our site. 

Pennsylvania:  DTC Shipping to be considered this fall
In June, the House passed House Bill 121, which allows DTC shipment but includes the problematic tax rates previous mentioned here. Like Massachusetts, industry reps anticipate more action on several favorable DTC bills this fall. You may have seen some recent press coverage indicating bi-partisan support for legal wine shipments. (Note that active bills are not part of the debate over privatization.)

ACTION: Include a paragraph on PA in your upcoming consumer e-newsletter. We need consumer support letters. Just click here for copy to use.

Summer State Update on DTC Wine Shipping Laws

    July 30, 2013

Update as of July 26, 2013

WATCH THIS SPACE: 2014 DTC WINE SYMPOSIUM!
Planning for the 7th annual summit and fundraiser on direct marketing and sales is well underway. In the next few days, the Steering Committee will announce conference dates in January, location, and seminar topics.

Spoiler alert: the symposium will expand from one day to two days!

The DTC Wine Symposium is presented by and a fundraiser for Free the Grapes! and Coalition for Free Trade. Net income from the summit has funded Free the Grapes! actions this year including a press blitz in Boston, participation at Boston Wine Expo and Wine Riot, and has generated thousands of letters of support from consumers to their state representatives. Net income also funds litigation – e.g., Massachusetts – coordinated by Coalition for Free Trade. These two organizations have worked successfully with local associations and industry representatives to increase the number of legal states from 17 to 40, representing 89.5% of wine consumption.

LEGISLATIVE NEWS ON WINE SHIPPING LAWS

Massachusetts: Reps to Consider DTC Bills this Fall
We have been very busy supporting a favorable bill (House Bill 294) this year, which will be reconsidered when the legislative session resumes this fall. Please continue to encourage your consumers to visit www.freethegrapes.org and take two minutes to write their legislators. Just click here for copy that you can use, or visit our Massachusetts tab on our site.

Wine Institute reported that a hearing was held June 26 in the Joint Transportation Committee on H 3154 which is the bill to allow for fleet licensing of common carriers to address the DTC shipping issues faced by both FedEx and UPS in MA. There was no opposition expressed during the testimony.

Pennsylvania:  DTC Shipping to be considered this fall
In June, the House passed House Bill 121, which allows DTC shipment but includes the problematic tax rates previous mentioned here. Like Massachusetts, industry reps anticipate more action on several favorable DTC bills this fall. You may have seen some recent press coverage indicating bi-partisan support for legal wine shipments. (Note that active bills are not part of the debate over privatization.)  ACTION:   Include a paragraph on PA in your upcoming consumer e-newsletter. We need consumer support letters. Just click here for copy to use.

Massive Update

    May 17, 2013

There is a lot to report this month, and we’ll start with the winners.

THE WINNERS

Montana Becomes 40th Legal State for Winery Shipments

House Bill 402 was signed by the governor on April 12 and goes into effect October 1, 2013. The new law will replace the flawed connoisseur’s license with a workable wine direct shipping law. Less than 200 wine lovers actually hold a connoisseur’s license and FedEx, as you know, will not ship wine to Montana because the licensing requirement is on the consumer and not the winery. Congratulations to Wine Institute for this win.

Florida Session Ends without Change to Existing Law
The 2013 Florida legislative session has ended without a DTC bill. In years past, bills have been introduced that included capacity caps and other restrictions.

North Dakota Fix-it Passes
As reported by Wine Institute, Senate Bill 2147 was signed by the governor and permits licensed out-of-state direct shippers to use fulfillment warehouses in preparing direct wine shipments into the state.  SB 2147 remedies an issue in ND law that resulted in prohibiting the use of fulfillment warehouses by licensed wineries. Wine Institute worked with the North Dakota Tax Commission and key legislators in developing SB 2147 which update state law by establishing a “logistics shipper” license for persons involved in providing fulfillment services on behalf of a licensed direct shipper and requires reporting on those shipments to the North Dakota Tax Commission. These new requirements will become effective on August 1, 2013.

THE HOT PROSPECTS

Massachusetts: Wineries, Write Your Consumers!
As we mentioned last month, we need wineries to step up and contact consumers on their mailing lists in the Commonwealth. Encourage your consumers to visit www.freethegrapes.org and take two minutes to write their legislators. We need your help to counter the messages that the package store association is sending to legislators. Just click here for copy that you can use, or visit our Massachusetts tab on our site.

We have been very busy supporting House Bill 294 this year:

  • Letters: Consumers have sent more than 1,200 letters to MA legislators through FTG.org
  • Press Coverage: Free the Grapes has generated 40+ news stories in MA this year, helped by a very successful media day in Boston with former NFL quarterback and vintner, Drew Bledsoe
  • Consumer Contact: FTG has taken a booth and signed up consumers at the Boston Wine Expo (February) and Boston Wine Riot (April)

Pennsylvania: Tax Fixes Sought. Several bills in play would allow for DTC shipments but include bad tax language (adding 6% sales tax plus 18% flood tax to the retail price of purchased wine.)  Note that these bills are not part of the debate over privatization. ACTION: Include a paragraph on PA in your upcoming consumer e-newsletter. We need consumer support letters. Just click here for copy to use.

THE LOSERS

Flawed Arkansas Bill to become Law. House Bill 1749 was signed by the Governor on 3/21/13.  There was never any testimony taken on the bill which moved through the legislature in less than two weeks. The provisions of the bill are extremely onerous. For example, the bill requires consumers to be physically present at the winery at the time of the sale, deliveries must be made during business hours when alcohol may be sold in state, and boxes must include label provided by the AR ABC. The ABC must do rulemaking, and the effective date of the law will not be determined until the legislature adjourns.

Nebraska Passes Onerous Bill. L230 adds burdensome requirements to DTC shipments such as requiring monthly rather than annual reports, requiring notification of wholesalers, etc. The bill was signed by the Governor on 4/24/13.

SHORT UPDATES:

  • DE: House Bill 60 died in committee. Would have allowed DTC shipments.
  • GA: House Bill 137, allowing retailers to send wine gift baskets, died in committee.
  • IN: Senate Bill 15, which would have removed the winery visitation penalty, died in committee.
  • MD: House Bill 1420 died in committee and would have prohibited a DTC order to be transmitted to a winery by a retailer, wholesaler, or other third party (e.g., Amazon). House Bill 590, which would have allowed retailers to ship only sacramental or kosher wine, died in committee. Also, House Bill 1366 also died in committee, and would have allowed retailer DTC.
  • ME: Flawed House Bill 411 died in committee.
  • MI: Senate Bill 216 would add beer to the existing DTC shipping law.
  • MN: Senate Bill 66 would add malt liquor to DTC shipping statute.
  • OK: HJR 1035, similar to DTC bills in the past, died in committee. (Bill would require a popular vote and change in state’s constitution.)
  • RI: H6038, the model DTC bill, died in committee but is being held for study.
  • SD: S100, our DTC model bill, died in committee.
  • TN: H200 would have created a DTC shipping law for beer, but died in committee.
  • TX: Two bills that would require the state to “level down” if any portions of the ABC law were deemed a violation of the Commerce Clause, died in committee.
  • VT: Two bills that would allow DTC beer shipments died.