Law Offices of John P. Connell, P.C.: Massachusetts may be the next state in line to lift its current restrictions on direct winery direct shipments to in state residents. Currently, Massachusetts law restricts out-of-state wineries from delivering directly to Massachusetts consumers by prohibiting wineries that produce more than 30,000 gallons a year and which have been represented in this state by a wholesaler from direct shipments of wine to consumers. The Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a budget on April 30, 2014 that included provisions for direct-to-consumer shipping that has no restrictions on large wineries like the ones currently in the law. Now, should the Senate and Governor Deval Patrick sign off on the matter, Massachusetts consumers might finally be able to receive wine directly from out-of-state wineries of their choice.
House Bill No. 258, “An Act regulating the direct shipment of wine,” was filed by Michael J. Moran of Boston on January 18, 2013. The Bill aims to amend Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 138, Section 19F, which is the current statute regulating “shipment licenses for large and small wineries.” Below are some highlights of the Bill’s proposed amendments to the State’s current law.
Prior to engaging in direct shipping, a winery must apply to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for a direct shipper’s license, costing $300.00 initially and $150.00 each year thereafter.
A winery engaging in direct shipping must agree in writing that it will only contract with common carriers agreeing to make face-to-face deliveries of wine and agreeing to ensure each consumer is of legal age before completing delivery.
A winery engaging in direct shipping must ensure each shipment of wine is made in containers showing the message “Contains Alcohol: Signature of Person Age 21 or Older Required for Delivery,” visible to a person at least three feet away.
A winery engaging in direct shipping must do so in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 138, Section 22, governing the transportation of alcoholic beverages.
A winery engaging in direct shipping must not make more than four cases of wine deliveries to any Massachusetts consumer during one calendar year.
A winery engaging in direct shipping must consent to jurisdiction and venue in Massachusetts for any hearings, appeals or other matters relating to its direct shipper’s license.
To view the rest of the proposed amendments to the State’s current direct shipping laws and the full text of House Bill No. 258, see here.
CONTRIBUTED BY COURTNEY N. McGEE
© 2014, Law Offices of John P. Connell, P.C.