Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Status of Direct Shipping in Maryland

Report finds no adverse impacts in 37 jurisdictions polled, debunks myths,
and provides fact-based path to passage of Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping
legislation in 2011

The Office of the Comptroller today released a 257-page report based on
extensive research culled from the 37 states plus the District of Columbia
that currently allow the shipment of wine directly to consumers.

The report was released ahead of the December 31st deadline mandated by
SB858 Maryland Winery Modernization Act of 2010.

“The report finds no evidence of increased underage access, no problems
collecting taxes and no increase in alcohol abuse in any of the
jurisdictions that allow direct shipping,” Kevin Atticks, executive
director of the Maryland Wineries Association said.

The report is in agreement with a 2003 Federal Trade Commission study that
also found that direct shipping increases consumer access to wine, while
providing adequate controls states desire.

“We know from our peers in other states, that the ability to ship wine to
customers grows winery revenues by 15-20%,” said Ed Boyce of Black Ankle
Vineyards in Mt. Airy.

The report finds no adverse impact to local retailers or wholesalers in
states where wineries are permitted to mail directly to consumers.

“Direct-to-consumer shipping would benefit Maryland's consumers by
allowing legal-age buyers to get the wines they want,” said Cary Greene,
chief operating officer and gneral counsel of WineAmerica, the national
association of American wineries. “WineAmerica applauds the Comptroller's
careful analysis and recognition that Maryland has the tools to regulate
this vital channel of interstate commerce in wine.”

“Discussions from this point forward can now be rooted in fact, rather
than conjecture,” said Atticks, who notes that the first time Maryland
wineries tried to change the law was in 1981—30 years ago. “We look forward
to gaining the ability to sell our wine directly to both our in- and
out-of-state customers with the passage of direct shipping legislation.”


Additional resources:

Comptroller's Shipping Report [3.9MB PDF]:

Information about direct shipping:

FTC report (2003): http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/07/winereport2.pdf

Maryland Wineries Association: http://marylandwine.com/mwa/mwa/