July 1, 2018
Dear Wine Lovers of Delaware,
As we previously reported, House Bill 165 was the first winery-to-consumer direct shipping bill to pass the Delaware House and Senate. That’s the good news.
Unfortunately, HB 165 continued to include an unworkable provision we asked you to oppose because it would have banned shipments of any wines listed in the Delaware Beverage Guide. As you know we supported the bill as long as that provision was eliminated. Ultimately, HB 165 was killed in the conference committee. If it had passed, it would have caused a lot of confusion, and set back our efforts.
As background, the Delaware Beverage Guide is not a public document; it is a password-protected website made available only to the 19 Delaware wholesalers and the state’s retailers. So there is no way you could know what wines are listed in the Guide, and therefore which wines are not available for winery direct shipment. And to add more confusion, wineries could list their Chardonnay but not their Cabernet Sauvignon in the Guide. HB 165 would have forced wineries to choose between selling wines direct to consumer, or through the traditional wholesaler-retailer channel, but not both.
Many legislators, working in good faith, believed the ban was a good compromise with wholesalers and retailers.
Industry lobbyists tell us it is likely that we will see another bill in 2019, and we will keep you updated on that news!
Thanks for all your support!
Free the Grapes!
PS. You might be interested in this related article in Delaware Online: “Movement Afoot to Allow Direct Wine Shipments to DE Drinkers”