Free the Grapes! March 2022 Winery Update

March 1, 2022


NEW JERSEY: Two Favorable Bills Introduced to Remove Capacity Cap

Assembly Bill 2432 and Senate Bill 549 were introduced in the new, 2022-23 legislative session. Like last session’s Assembly Bill 1943, the new bills would create a license for wine companies whose aggregate production exceeds 250,000 gallons per year.

In the final days of the 2020-21 legislative session, AB1943 passed on a 5-1 vote out of the Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee, a positive sign for the current legislative session. We will keep you updated on progress.

DELAWARE: New Bill Under Consideration

For years we have been encouraging passage of DTC shipping in Delaware, one of three states left with an outright ban on shipments. House Bill 210, which carries over from 2021, 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). However, this bill is a step in the right direction.

ACTION: While we await a hearing on this bill, 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.

RHODE ISLAND: New Bill to Remove Winery Visit Penalty
Senate Bill 2420 would remove the requirement that a consumer first visit the winery premises before DTC shipments can be made.  The bill sits in the Senate Special Legislation Committee, and we will provide updates as available.

Additional State Updates

ALABAMA.  HB240 and SB172 are identical bills that would address various issues that have arisen since the passage of Alabama’s new DTC shipping law in 2021, making the application process smother for wineries and fulfillment houses.

ALASKA. Senate Bill 9 is a carryover from 2021, a rewrite of Title IV which includes our DTC shipping language. The bill passed the Senate unanimously on 2/8/22 after beer and spirits shipping were amended into the bill. It is now in the House for consideration.

HAWAII.  There are many carryover bills but two new ones, HB2189 and its companion SB2289, would allow for beer and spirits DTC. 

IOWA. We are awaiting more details on HB2108, which would add a section to the law allowing for DTC shipment of “alcoholic liquor,” including wine. As of 2/3, the bill is in the House Committee on State Government.   Separately, SB3053, which was introduced by the state’s Alcohol Beverage Division, includes a favorable provision for license auto-renewals.  We are closely watching at least a dozen bills related to bottle deposit law reforms, a number of which would remove the exemption DTC shipped bottles have from that program.

INDIANA. HB1257, introduced in January, would allow sprits DTC. Wine Institute is supporting SB 26 that would remove the state’s wholesaler exclusion statute.

MASSACHUSETTS:  HB 335 would make changes to the language in the existing DTC statute related to “wines of your own production” which may be problematic.  Language that was previously agreed to has been amended, creating some concerns about the bill.

MINNESOTA:  H2675 would create a DTC shipping permit, while in return increasing the amount a winery may ship to a consumer from 2 cases to 12 cases annually. The bill has been passed its first two Committees in the House.

MISSOURI. HB2528 is a retailer DTC license bill, written into the wine statute, and removes the “wine of own production” language. 

MISSISSIPPI. H730 and H731 would add a 34% markup and increases the number of in-state package store licenses from 1 to 3.  These bills died in committee in February.

NEBRASKA. L1231 is a primary source bill for in and out of state suppliers; an amendment has been added to remove retailers from the DTC shipping provisions.  L80, a carryover from 2021, would cut the DTC license fee in half, from $500 to $250.

NEW HAMPSHIRE. S340 would remove the DTC shipping limits on wine (from 12 cases), beer, and spirits. 

NEW YORK.  There are several carryover bills (e.g., retailer DTC, excise taxes, etc.) as well as a new retailer DTC bill, SB7740. 

PENNSYLVANIA: H 2342 would allow for the DTC shipment of spirits.

TENNESSEE. H1652 concerns what information is provided to consumers for opting out of auto-renewal services, like wine clubs (similar to requirements in CA). Separately, SB1686 concerns common carrier licensing requirements.

UTAH.  S14 continues the unworkable special order provision system by creating a separate division within the Dept. of Alcohol Beverage Control to manage the program, and continues to include the 88% markup on retail pricing. Wine Institute is exploring sponsors of an alternative bill.

VIRGINIA. H300 is a spirits DTC bill. H1250 would have created a “marketplace facilitator license”; the bill died in committee on 2/3/22. 

VERMONT.  H591 and S252 would create a DTC license for spirits and fortified wine. 

WASHINGTON. H1432 is a carryover spirits DTC bill that removes the shipping limit, as is the current statute for winery DTC.  

DTC Wine Symposium 2022:

Another Successful Conference

While we are working on a final report of the 15th annual fundraiser for Free the Grapes!, January’s virtual Symposium drew an enthusiastic and, engaged  audience of DTC managers, sponsors, and speakers:

  • 534 participants: 100% virtual
  • 52 community board topics, 1,994 messages, 72 photos, 200k impressions of sponsor pages
  • 22 virtual sponsors
  • 4 Keynote sessions, 8 Workshop Sessions, 5 Sponsor Sessions, 2 Town Hall-style Meetings
  • 89% of survey respondents rated DTCWS22 as either “excellent” or “good,” and 93% recommend DTCWS
  • 5 sponsors donated their full sponsorship fees, rather than receive a 50% rebate for the virtual format: Wine Institute, Napa Valley Vintners, RedChirp, Copper Peak Logistics, and Sovos ShipCompliant. Thank you!

Net income from DTCWS funds 70% or more of Free the Grapes! campaign operations each year. Funds support press coverage and consumer engagement in key active states like DE, NJ, etc., and support industry lobbyist efforts to streamline regulations of this $4B+ sales channel.