Free the Grapes! April 2022 Winery Update

Spring is a very busy time in many state capitols. Here's an update on the "hot" states that could use winery help, plus additional states with legislative activity. 



ALASKA: Reasonable Limits Sought
After it passed the Senate on 2/8, Senate Bill 9 was amended in the House to include spirits and beer, with reductions in shipping limits to only 3 cases per person per winery annually, and 1 case per transaction. Free the Grapes! has been actively engaging consumers through email, Facebook ads, etc. to support Wine Institute’s efforts to include a higher, more reasonable limits for wine. During a bill hearing on 3/30, legislators opted to receive additional amendments, a positive sign. The bill is now scheduled for a hearing 4/12. More details to come as they are made available.

  • ACTION: Please use our copy to contact Alaskans on your email list, encouraging them to visit our page and take 2 minutes to write their state legislators.

NEW JERSEY: Two Favorable Bills Need Winery Support
As in the last legislative session, two bills would create a license for wine companies whose aggregate production exceeds 250k gallons per year.

  • ACTION: Please use our copy to send to your New Jersey email list subscribers, encouraging them to write their state legislators in support of Assembly Bill 2432 and Senate Bill 549.

DELAWARE: Bill to Open State Passes First Committee
On 3/22, House Bill 210 was successfully voted out of the House Committee on Economic Development/Banking, Insurance and Commerce.  HB210 has common safety provisions such as adult signatures on shipments and labeling requirements, although it does put comparatively low annual limits on the amount of wine that can be directly shipped to each Delaware household (3 cases/year) and the total each winery can ship to Delaware (1,800 cases/year).

  • ACTION: Please use our copy to contact Delawareans on your email list, encouraging them to visit our page and take 2 minutes to write their state legislators in support of HB210.

Additional State Updates

ALABAMA.  H240 and S172 are the wine industry’s two “clean up” bills which address the issues raised with the 2021 passage of the DTC bill including background checks, shipments to all areas (wet/dry), fulfillment house requirements, etc. 
COLORADO.  S132, which would have allowed vintner-owned restaurants to delivery and ship via common carrier in-state, is dead. 
HAWAII. There are several carryover bills from 2021 including H263/S65 which would expand wine DTC to include brewers and distillers. Similarly, H2189/S2289, would do the same. But none of the bills seem to be moving this session. 
IOWA. There are several pending bills. H2108, a new bill, would allow DTC of “alcoholic liquor” which would include wine. H2122 and S2122 would remove the exemption of DTC wine bottles from the bottle recycling bill. Wine Institute is working to get this amended. H2525 allows for DTC of spirits and wine over 21% ABV. H2531 would address the automatic subscription renewal process.
ILLINOIS.  H2136 is a carryover bill that would add retailer DTC. H3495 and its companion S532 would create a brewer and distiller DTC license. 
INDIANA. HB1257 was introduced in January and would allow DTC for spirits. No action has been taken.
MASSACHUSETTS. There are several carryover bills this year. HB335 has been amended into HB4243, and includes some unusual language around only selling wine DTC  “under a brand label” owned by or licensed exclusively to the winery. Wine Institute is seeking clarification. HB441 would require common carriers to report winery license numbers and the “quantity” of wine shipped, which they oppose (because they don’t collect this information). SB2259 is a fleet licensing bill that has been attempted in MA several times. The bill passed the joint committee on transportation and is in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. 
MAINE. SB44a would allow for spirits DTC, modeled on winery DTC but not in the same section of law.
MINNESOTA. H2168 would create a winery DTC license but does not increase the existing, two-case limit and winery license fees would support the Minnesota Grape & Wine Council promotion. H2675 would create a new winery DTC license ($100 permit fee, 12 case shipping limit), and has passed out of three committees and, as of 3/14, is in the House Committee on Taxes. 
MISOURI. H2528 is a retailer DTC license bill that is written into the wine statute and removes the “wine of own production” language.  H2555 would make it unlawful to automatically renew a subscription without prerequisites.  H2669 would add beer and spirits to the wine DTC law, with no change to wine shipping limits, but liming beer and spirits shipments to 18 liters/month and 9 liters/month, respectively.
MISSISSIPPI. H730 and H731 both failed. The bills were our model bill modified to add a 34% markup, and would have increased the number of in-state package store licenses from 1 to 3.
NEBRASKA.  L80 is a carryover bill that would reduce the winery license fee from $500 to $250. No action has been taken. L1231 is a primary source bill for in and out of state suppliers and retailers. 
NEW HAMPSHIRE. S340 was sent to committee 2/22 so is likely dead for the session. It would remove the DTC shipping limits on wine (from 12 cases), beer, and spirits. 
NEW YORK.  AB895, a carryover bill, would allow retailer DTC. A3275/S4245 would allow spirits DTC with an annual shipping limit of 36 cases/person/distillery. SB3870 would give preferential tax treatment to in-state wineries, distillers, and brewers. S7740 is a new bill allowing retailer DTC with a 36-case annual limit, like winery limits.
OKLAHOMA. H1933 would require common carriers to report the quantity of wine in shipments which they don’t collect and, therefore, oppose. H4209 creates a license for delivery services like Instacart. H1130, another carryover bill, relates to data privacy.
PENNSYLVANIA. HB2342 would allow spirits DTC. No action has been taken. 
RHODE ISLAND.  Senate Bill 2420, our model bill, would have removed the requirement that a consumer first visit the winery premises before DTC shipments can be made.  The bill died in the Senate Special Legislation Committee, 3/23. Separately, Senate Bill 69 is a carryover bill and includes retailers and wholesalers. H6300, another carryover bill, would impose a $2500/year license.

TENNESSEE.  H1652 is a subscription auto-renewal bill now before the governor for signature. S1686 is a common carrier licensing bill which was amended to the common carriers’ satisfaction and is before the governor as of 3/9.
UTAH.  As of 3/15, S14 is on to the governor for signature. This unworkable special order provision system would establish a separate division within the DABC to manage the program, and continues to include a 88% markup on retail pricing.
VIRGINIA. H300 is an in-state spirits DTC bill that appears in violation of Granholm v. Heald. SB65 is similar and appears to be dead for the year. H1250 died in committee and would have created a “marketplace facilitator” license for in and out of state retailers. SB325 is before the governor for signature and would eliminate the 1-gallon personal importation provision and appears not to impact winery DTC. 
VERMONT. H591/s252 would create a new shipping license for spirits and fortified wine.  
WASHINGTON. H1432 is a carryover spirits DTC bill that sits in its own section, not in the wine section, and would allow shipping without limits.