Free the Grapes! July 2021 Winery Update

July 19, 2021

SAVE THE DATE: DTC Wine Symposium 

January 19-20, 2022 

For the first time, the DTC Wine Symposium will be available as both an in-person conference and a livestream event! 

Attendees of the 15th annual conference can expect two full days of programming with thought-provoking keynotes, practical sessions, roundtable discussions on a variety of current topics, as well as a tradeshow of the industry’s leading suppliers. Virtual attendees will have access to the same content with opportunities to join interactive sessions. 

Presented by and a fundraiser for Free the Grapes!, the DTC Wine Symposium provides more than 70% of the association’s funding, and a practical conference on winery DTC sales and marketing. Stay up to date by joining the Free the Grapes! email list here and visiting

Information on topics, speakers, sponsorship, and registration will be available in early fall.   

Legislative Updates: HOT STATES 


Individual and multi-brand wine companies producing more than 250k gallons per year will soon be able to obtain a winery direct shippers license in Ohio.  

As reported by Wine Institute, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the state’s budget bill (HB 110) on June 30, 2021, which includes a provision that brings to a close years of work by Wine Institute. The budget creates a new S-2 permit for wineries producing the larger volume and changes the existing S permit, for wineries that produce fewer than 250,000 gallons of wine, to a S-1 permit. Under the new law, there will be no changes in the permitted activities for those smaller wineries. The new law becomes effective on Sept. 28, 2021.   

With this news, New Jersey becomes the only state with a “capacity cap” statute. Several years ago, Arizona and Massachusetts replaced their capacity caps, allowing licensed wineries of all sizes the option of direct shipping.  


On June 16, the Senate Commerce Committee held an “information only” hearing (no voting) on SB2683 which would remove the state’s capacity cap. We continue to encourage wineries to contact their NJ consumers, urging them to use our website: Hold a vote on SB2683 this fall! 

Free the Grapes! continues to work with Wine Institute and a consortium of stakeholders, successfully generating press coverage, thousands of letters to legislators from constituents, and other efforts that are gaining traction. We need a final push this summer and fall to secure a vote on our favorable bill! 

Additional State Updates 

ALASKA S9 would align the state’s statutes with our industry’s model direct shipping bill. The bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  

ALABAMA. As previously reported, Alabama becomes the 47th state to allow winery direct shipping, effective August 1, 2021. Stay tuned for more information from Wine Institute

ARKANSAS:  S546, which would have removed the current requirement that the consumer first visit the winery premises prior to any DTC shipments, was withdrawn by the author. 

DELAWARE: Sponsored by Representative Michael Smith. HB210 would replace DE’s ban with the industry’s model permit bill.  Although the bill 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), it is a step in the right direction. Free the Grapes! is engaging consumers to write their legislators. More information is here

FLORIDA:  SB50, an economic nexus bill, was signed by the Governor 4/19/21 and went into effect 7/1/21. The new statute requires wineries selling more than $100k in DTC sales the previous calendar year to pay a remote seller’s tax. Wine Institute is working with the Dept of Revenue to determine procedures for wineries meeting the threshold.   

KANSAS: H2137, an omnibus bill, was signed by the Governor 5/19/21. The new statute provides for fulfillment house reporting similar to that done in Kansas and Tennessee. Separately, SB 50 is an economic nexus bill that would not apply to wine DTC, only merchandise, for wineries exceeding the $100k threshold. The bill was vetoed by the Governor but then overridden 5/3/21. 

KENTUCKY:  HB415, a fix-it bill creating a fulfillment house license and allowing DTC shipments from alternating proprietorships, was signed by the Governor 3/12/21 and went into immediate effect.   

LOUISIANA:  House Bill 393 was pulled from consideration after it became apparent it would not pass. This bill would have removed the “wholesaler exclusion” banning DTC shipments of wines in LA wholesale distribution. There is a good chance the bill will be reintroduced in 2022. 

MICHIGAN:  S141 is a bill to stop shipments from wineries holding a traditional retailer license outside their home state. It was signed by the Governor. 

MISSOURI: S153, an economic nexus bill, would modify tax collections to include remote sellers exceeding the threshold of $100k in sales during a 12-month period. The bill was signed by the Governor on 6/30/21, and will become effective on 1/1/23. 

NEW HAMPSHIRE: S14 would allow the state’s liquor commission to be a DTC shipper of wine and spirits. The bill was signed by the Governor on 7/9/21, and becomes effective in September. 

RHODE ISLAND:  S69, our model DTC bill removing the “winery visit penalty,” is being held for further study and so is dead for the year.   

TENNESSEE: As previously reported, legislation was introduced that would have limited direct shipments sent only from wineries and not through fulfillment houses. Wine Institute worked with state legislators, and Free the Grapes! consumer members sent 5,000+ letters to state legislators opposing the bill, one of the largest responses in any state campaign. Workable legislation was signed by the Governor, avoiding the effects of HB 742.  

WYOMING:  H13 was signed by the Governor 2/9/21 and became effective 7/1/21 – it increases limits from 4 to 12 cases/year, and allows retailer DTC, but includes the existing exclusion for those wines sold through the state’s control system. 

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