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New Massachusetts Law Allows Wine Sales at Agricultural Events

A new Massachusetts law allows wineries and vineyards to sell their wine products at agricultural events throughout the state of Massachusetts. Under this law, a winery can obtain a temporary license from a local liquor authority to sell their wines by the bottle or allow tastings at agricultural events (i.e. farmers’ markets) within the state. Like the current New York law, wineries and vineyards are allowed to sell wine by the bottle or offer tastings, but selling wine by the glass is not discussed by the text of the present Massachusetts law.

Massachusetts lawmakers see this law as one in support of economic development. Accordingly, many Massachusetts wineries are enthusiastic about the passage of this bill, especially considering the possible threat to sales of small, local wineries if H.R. 5034 becomes law. Local wineries throughout the state feel the new law of Massachusetts will support both sales and branding of local wineries among constituents of Massachusetts.  One local Massachusetts winery contends that, “We can now go to a farmers market and encounter a whole bunch of people who know nothing about Massachusetts wine. They’ve lived in Massachusetts their whole lives and they are 100 percent behind buying local and supporting Massachusetts farmers . . . We’ve been selling wine for 20 years and it’s amazing how many people have never heard of us, let alone other wineries in Massachusetts.”

Compare this to New York’s recent veto by Governor Paterson of a bill allowing wine sales at food festivals. (See New York Corks Food Festival Wine Sales Bill.) (Note: New York’s bill, unlike the new law of Massachusetts, proposed the removal of a fee for the permit to sell wine at food festivals and was rejected because language was said to be vague and still required other alcoholic-beverage producers to pay the fee.)

(Source: New law grants local wineries access to farmers markets.)

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.

Lindsey A. Zahn


Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is an alcohol beverage and food attorney and is admitted to the New York State Bar.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Joe Palmer January 25, 2012, 3:10 PM

    Hi Lindsey, I have a question: I make wine from CA grape in my home and am interested in learning the legal requirements of possibly selling my wine to a restaurant as their house wine. I look forward to your response and guidance.


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