Wine bill gets through Senate committee

A proposal to lift the ban on direct shipments from wineries was released by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today without opposition.  It now heads to the full Senate.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said his bill would be a boon to New Jersey’s emerging wine industry.

“Allowing direct shipments of wine to and from New Jersey will not only enhance consumer choice, but would provide essential inroads for our budding wine industry,” said Sweeney, who sponsored the bill with State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City). “With our wineries producing better and better wines and winning prestigious awards, we should be expanding, not limiting, access to New Jersey wines.”

The bill, S-766, would authorize the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission to issue direct-shipping licenses to holders of either a New Jersey plenary winery license with retail privileges or a New Jersey farm winery license.  Out-of-state shippers also would be allowed to receive a shipping license, with the stipulation that they provide the Division of Taxation payment for any excise and sales taxes due and an annual report noting quantity and type of alcoholic beverages shipped to New Jersey consumers.

“New Jersey consumers should not have to be limited only to what’s in stock at their local wine store, nor should they have to drive half-way across the state to get a quality New Jersey wine,” said Stack. “Likewise, out-of-state visitors who try New Jersey wines and want to purchase them shouldn’t be shut out. It’s time we give consumers and vintners the ability to deal directly with each other.”

Wine bill gets through Senate committee