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 farm winery license. Out-of-state shippers also would be allowed to receive a shipping license, with the stipulation that they provide the state 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.
If enacted, New Jersey would join thirty-five other states that currently have direct-shipping laws. New Jersey is the sixth-largest wine producing state in the country. The measure was approved 29-5 and sent to the Assembly for consideration.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson), the sponsors, said
lifting the direct-shipping ban would be beneficial to consumers and a boon to the state'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," Sweeney said. "With our wineries producing better and better wines and winning prestigious awards, we should be expanding, not limiting, access to New Jersey wines."
Stack said, "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. Likewise, out-of-state visitors who try New Jersey wines and want to purchase them shouldn't be shut out."
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM