Free the Grapes! December 2023 Winery Update


This is an update on recent actions in select states, and recommendations on how to navigate as we head into 2024:   

ALASKA: New Permit Law Effective 1/1/24 - Recommendation is to WAIT to apply

The Alaska Title 4 Rewrite law (SB 9) which provides for limited, regulated, tax-paid wine shipping by wineries of all sizes in the United States that obtain a license from the Alaska Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. 

However, the state is in the process of developing new rules governing this new Manufacturer Direct Shipment License (MDSL) which impacts wineries and other types of alcoholic beverage manufacturers becoming licensed prior to the program rules being finalized.  

At this time, wineries are advised to WAIT until a resolution on the final rules is reached before applying for the new license, in order to avoid running afoul of the existing regulations. 

DELAWARE:  Positive DTC Bill Will See Action in Early January 2024 

Currently, Delaware remains among the few states in the U.S. where direct shipment of wine to consumers is prohibited. However, a bipartisan initiative led by State Rep. Mike Smith (R-Pike Creek Valley) seeks to modernize these laws. House Bill 262, if passed, would enable direct-to-consumer wine sales under specified conditions. 

This bill is currently pending action in the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee and is expected to undergo hearings when the 152nd General Assembly reconvenes in early January. 

WISCONSIN: Concerning omnibus liquor bill signed by Governor

Wisconsin has been open to winery to consumer direct shipping since 1988. However, recently an omnibus liquor bill was forced through the legislature that will impose significant restrictions on DTC shipping into the state. The bill was unfortunately signed by the Governor on December 6, 2023.

While the sections impacting DTC shipments won’t become effective until early 2025, the restrictions included raise serious concerns. Wine Institute will be working with the Secretary of the ABC to pass “fix-it” legislation in 2024. Without this, both of the major common carriers have gone on record with the state saying they would have to stop shipping wines DTC into the state due to the requirements of the new law. Free the Grapes! will also be working to provide support for these legislative efforts in the state. Stay tuned for more information on how wineries can provide assistance as well.

ALL STATES REMINDER: Use your own shipping permit

It is the position and recommendation of Wine Institute that every winery obtain and utilize their own permits with each state where they are shipping wine. Utilization of a permit belonging to a third party can raise flags in certain situations, and there are a number of states that are paying closer attention to these instances, with potentially negative outcomes.

DTC Wine Symposium: Jan 17-18, 2024

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The DTC Wine Symposium, presented by and as a fundraiser for Free the Grapes!, is where DTC wineries converge for insights. Get practical, hands-on instruction from experts to drive your DTC sales. Don’t miss out!

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