Free the Grapes March 2023 Update: Wall Street Journal Covers DTC Shipping

Subscribers to the Wall Street Journal may have seen wine editor Lettie Teague’s article March 2nd which, among other things, highlighted consumer support for Free the Grapes! and our role in helping to support legal, regulated direct wine shipments.

Here's a link to the article: [Paywall]

She mentioned that several states are about to consider new legislation, and we’ve devoted this newsletter to a timely update across the legislative landscape.


NEW JERSEY:  No Action (Yet) on Capacity Cap Bills

As we enter the second year of NJ’s two-year legislative session, we anticipate committee action on HB2432 and S549 later in spring. These bills address the state’s current “capacity cap” statute by introducing a new license allowing wine companies producing more than 250k gallons per year to ship directly to consumers.  

Complicating matters, Naked Wines has proposed similar legislation, but it would only apply to wineries without a NJ wholesaler – which means it would apply only to Naked Wines.

DELAWARE: 2022 Bill to be reintroduced in 2023

Back in 2022, the wine industry’s model direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping bill, HB210, passed the House Committee on Economic Development, Banking/Insurance, and Commerce. Unfortunately, it did  not move before the session adjourned June 30.

This year, the bill is being reintroduced with strong and very public support by its author, Representative Mike Smith.  Free the Grapes! will keep our friends in DE informed when to write state legislators.

Additional Updates

HAWAII: Two bills would add spirits and beer DTC language to the current winery DTC statute. Ideally, this language should be in its own statute or section from wine. The bills would also remove the winery shipping limit of six cases/person/year.

MINNESOTA: HB 417 is similar to a bill passed in the House last session and would increase the shipping limit from 2 to 12 cases/person/year and add in winery licensing and tax payment requirements common in other states. 

MISSISSIPPI: HB 385, similar to the wine industry’s model DTC bill, was introduced in early January, amended, but ultimately did not make it out of committee prior to the January 30 deadline. 

WASHINGTON:  Two bills, H1016 and SB5007, would allow in-state and out-of-state retailers to ship directly to consumers.