N.J. gets closer to allowing direct wine shipments with Senate approval

Thursday, 11 March 2010 16:54

wineship031110_optThe state Senate Thursday approved legislation that would allow New Jersey consumers to receive direct shipments of wine from wineries.

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."


Comments (7)
7 Friday, 23 July 2010 14:12
I just recently moved to NJ from NY and now have difficulty receiving wine from many of the small (under 1000 case) wineries that I have visited personally and established relationships over a 20 year period with the winemakers.

If you looked at the numbers, most of the bottles of wine that are shipped across state lines are well over $25 - 30, if not over $100 a bottle. No one that is under 30 or more years of age is going to randomly pay that amount per bottle. MSGold406, if you believe that then you are simply stupid, ignorant or work for a wholesaler.

Over 70 years without any major problems.. well, that would depend on what you deem major. How about holding the consumer (that generates 70% of the US economy) hostage. People want choice, not restrictions, the internet has proven it. And to the point that Fred Johnson makes above, nicely said Fred.

6 Sunday, 14 March 2010 16:45
Agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Johnson. MsGold...as my friend Gary Vaneychuk (NJ and online wine retailer) would say: "We're changing the wine world... whether they like it or not!" Cheers.
5 Friday, 12 March 2010 22:19
Fred Johnson - I applaud your comments! Your words echo far greater truth than those of msgold405.
4 Friday, 12 March 2010 17:55
fred johnson

You work for a NJ wholesaler, right?

You say we'll return to the era of "The Untouchables". Where's your evidence? Thirty-five states allow consumers to purchase direct. None of them have put in a call for Elliot Ness. There's no evidence of increased crime.

I'm surprised you didn't scream about underage drinking. That's another myth you 3-tier guys push. FedEx, UPS, etc., will not deliver wine to anyone who can't produce a photo ID proving they're over 21. Shippers are strict about this because of legal liability. Where's the evidence teenagers can buy wine interstate on the internet?

Nothing reveals you wholesalers' attitude like your comment, " What makes the consumer so special that he/she can just bypass all of these laws?" First of all, the consumer is so special because he/she IS the consumer. I bet you're a "free market" conservative....until your monopoly is affected. Second, consumers aren't "bypassing" laws, they're changing them. This is called democracy.

New Jersey retailers will not be harmed by this law. If they stock the wine, a consumer will always find it easier to buy it at the retailer. But wholesalers stock the products of very few small wineries because the wholesalers are only interested in high-volume wines. High-volume wineries provide advertising and in-store promotions which do the wholesalers' selling for them.

For the consumer, those hundreds of small wineries, which wholesalers won't buy from, produce the best wines (and best values) in any given varietal. These family wineries can afford to sell directly to consumers at the same price they'd pay at a retailer. The family wineries CAN'T afford to sell through a wholesaler system which ends up costing them half the retail price. More often than not, the wholesaler won't carry them, anyway. The result: wholesalers win by depriving consumers of choice, family wineries of sales, and all New Jersey of needed tax revenue.

Almost every small winery (under 500,000 bottles a year) in California, Washington, Oregon and, yes, New Jersey is moving away from the wholesaler system because it's no longer affordable and it restricts the number of customers they can attract.

In the last few years, wholesalers spent $6 billion lobbying legislators, hoping to maintain their monopolies by depriving the public of choice. More and more legislators are giving up the wholesaler gravy train and listening to their constituents.

Sorry, MSGold406, the wholesaler racket is dying all over the country.
3 Friday, 12 March 2010 15:39
Who cares?
Well, for starters...you'll turn an industry upside down that has operated well for over 70 years without any major problems. The Repeal was instituted with certain state rules that govern this industry and the only reason to allow alcohol as a beverage, after prohibition, was because of these rules and laws. Read your history... maybe you'll learn something..... or just watch "The Untouchables" .
You folks have short memories......
2 Friday, 12 March 2010 13:46
Mike Jones
Who cares about stupid 3 tier crap?!?!?! Let us get wine already, this lousy state has no good wine, let me get it from other states...whenever I want!!!
1 Friday, 12 March 2010 11:00
This is ALCOHOL people not sox!!! Internet buying should NOT be allowed!!! There are a multitude of laws at the Federal, State and local levels that must be obeyed at all three tier levels. What makes the consumer so special that he/she can just bypass all of these laws? Where is the Repeal in this situation. The commerce claus has NO STANDING in this matter. And to top it all off... New Jersey retailers have some of the best variety of wines available in the world! This is all brought about by a few prima-donnas that want their special allocated bottle of wine that they think they can obtain by going direct. Well, let me clue you in.... if 1000 people want a bottle from a 300 bottle production... 700 people will not get their bottle ...in or out of the three tier system. Drink that in......
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