Congress & Florida Attack Direct Shipping…Again.

Yet another bill has been introduced to U.S. Congress that will limit direct shipments of wine, House Resolution 1161 resumes the battle that H.R. 5034 fought last year (and lost).  Introduced by Republican Jason Chaffetz, Utah (go figure) this year’s version of the CARE (Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act) fights to ensure state governments regulate control of alcohol and protect them from costly litigation challenging their laws governing direct to consumer shipments (basically provide immunity from the series of Supreme Court cases that have recently opened states like New York, Michigan and Florida to direct to consumer shipping).

Other sponsors of the bill include: Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich.), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fl.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fl.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.).  Last year, although H.R. 5034 was sponsored by 153 representatives, it never was voted on the House floor and no similar bills have been introduced in the Senate.

The most concerning part of this bill is the fact that it is being introduced again.  Alcohol wholesalers are obviously not willing to let the concept of direct shipping to consumers die, and it looks like we have a long fight against them.  According to Wine Spectator…

Since 2005, the year of the Granholm decision, the nine sponsors of H.R. 1161 have accepted $185,000 from the NBWA (National Beer Wholesales Association) and $73,073 from the WSWA (Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America). In 2010 alone, the NBWA gave these congresspersons $47,500 and the WSWA, $35,499, or $82,999 total. Chaffetz received $6,000 last year from the WSWA and $5,000 from the NBWA.

Despite the seemingly government support, there are secs within the House that fully support consumers rights Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Calif) told Wine Spectator, “The federal government has no business picking winners and losers in the wine, beer and distilled spirits industry. Yet the Act would do just that by banning the direct shipment of wine and other forms of alcohol in the U.S. The impact of this bill would be devastating for brewers, vintners, distillers, importers and consumers across our country.”

I guess for now, we’ll just have to wait and see where this bill goes and how many supporters the House is able to gain.

To voice your opposition to this bill, please visit Freethegrapes.org; a comprehensive site dedicated to fighting for consumer rights by thoroughly informing us of minute by minute changes to direct shipping laws.


Florida Senate Bill Introduced to Overturn Direct Shipping into the State

With the strong influence of alcohol wholesalers in the state, its no surprise that Florida is not taking the direct shipping issue laying down.  Since 2006, Florida consumers have enjoyed shipments from wineries into the state from across the country.  Likewise, Florida wineries like Naples Winery and Eden Winery in Fort Myers, have been able to ship their products to out of state consumers.

Although still in the beginning stages, this state bill is closer than any other has been before…with similar bills both in the state House and Senate and strong backing by the wholesalers within Florida.

According to freethegrapes.org, “The bills would limit shipments to wineries that produce less than 250,000 gallons, excluding 90% of US wine from direct sales to Floridians. They would impose a shipping limit per household, rather than per consumer, which would be impossible for wineries to conform to. And finally, theywould require wineries to provide a written “warning” to their wholesaler representatives one year in advance of any direct shipments. In summary, the bills aim to overturn direct shipping in Florida.”

To all Florida residents who enjoy getting shipments from the California and other wineries across the country, please  visit this site and voice your opinion.

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Posted on March 21, 2011, in Wine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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