Note: There were several corrections made to this entry post-publication. The author would like to specifically point out that direct shipment is not yet allowed in Maryland, but it appears that direct shipment will soon be available in Maryland in the upcoming months. We apologize for any confusion the original post caused. Monday night, Maryland Senate passed legislation allowing direct shipment of wine from wine producers to the homes of consumers, just two days after the House of Delegates passed the same. (See Direct Wine Shipment Coming Soon to Maryland and House OKs Direct Shipping for Wine.) Several steps still remain to make this bill a law, including the signing by the Governor Martin O’Malley, but there is a strong likelihood that wineries will be able to directly ship to customers in the upcoming months. Whereas this step is a great victory for wineries and connoisseurs, as thirty-six states and the District of Columbia allow direct shipment, it poses a question of compelling interest: does this new law go far enough? Some concerns from commentators are that the bill only allows 18 direct shipments per year from wineries. Additionally, deference is given to wineries and producers with respect to direct shipment while forgoing the inquiries from state retailers. (It is suggested that allowing retailers to engage in direct shipment would heighten sales for private business and public entities, perhaps especially if Maryland legislators vote to raise sales tax on alcoholic beverages. In the future, Maryland legislators will vote on whether to raise the sales tax on wine, beer, liquor, which is postulated to raise $90 million in state revenue.) Irrespective, this is a large step for Maryland in the direction favorable to the majority of its cohorts. The budding question is as follows: which state is next?
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.