Manischewitz Raises Its Head in NJ Wine Shipping Debate

An article in the New Jersey Jewish News highlights why Retailer-To-Consumer shipping is every bit as important to consumer wine access as is Winery-To-Consumer shipping.

The New Jersey Legislature is currently considering legislation that would allow in-state and out-of-state wineries as well as out-of-state retailers to ship wine into the Garden State. Among the arguments being made on behalf of the legislation is that it's difficult for Jews to get their hands on kosher wines other than Manischewitz and direct shipping will give those who restrict themselves to a Kosher diet access to many of the outstanding, but hard to find, Kosher wines made in the United States.

However, Kosher wines are produced around the world. Retailers in different parts of the country carry different selections of these wines. By allowing direct shipment by retailers, as well as wineries, the entire American marketplace of Kosher wines is open to residents of New Jersey.

There are a number of retailers of Kosher wines that New Jersey residents would have access to were they to obtain the right to buy wine from out of state vendors

Of course, this access to the marketplace doesn't sit well with wholesalers who are bypassed when consumers actually want to find the wines they want, rather than just Manischewitz.:

"the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America say they have another concern.

a provision in the bill that would require people over 21 to sign for
any alcohol deliveries, Nancy White, a spokeswoman for the trade
association, said the proposed law could make it easier for teenagers
to drink.

“It’s not just about kids buying wine on the Internet,” she told the Courier-Post. “It’s about kids picking up the box of wine from the front porch.”

Who stores their wine on the front porch?


13 Responses

  1. Arthur - March 19, 2009

    “It’s about kids picking up the box of wine from the front porch”
    …and of course their parents would be oblivious to the delivery because wineries *don’t* send notifications that a scheduled club shipment is coming, and FedEx or UPS *don’t* make automated calls to the house to notify of the delivery and credit card statements *don’t* show the charge for the wine….

  2. Kathy - March 19, 2009

    Does this bring discrimination or other laws into the shipping picture?

  3. Randy Watson - March 20, 2009

    The argument that this would allow teenagers to get their hands on alcohol is almost humorous. Wholesalers will need to find a more convincing way to fight this.

  4. UncorkNJ - March 20, 2009

    Tom Wark’s Fermentation Blog Discusses UncorkNJ

    Tom Wark has an excellent blog post up at his site regarding our work to uncork New Jersey and open up consumer choice for Garden State wine lovers. Tom is a direct shipping advocate who understand the bottom line for…

  5. Cortland Coleman - March 20, 2009

    Thanks for your coverage of this important issue. We urge Kosher consumers, and all consumers, to visit us at and learn more about our efforts to open up consumer choice for wine lovers in New Jersey.

  6. Dylan - March 20, 2009

    Ah, it’s good to see some positive news from my place of birth. I grew up in a very concentrated Jewish area, so I’m familiar with the argument being made here. I hope that it’s able to pass through the loose arguments against it being made.

  7. Lloyd Benedict, founder, - March 20, 2009

    Tom, thanks for picking this up. NJ is a big win state if this goes through. Regarding minors….
    In every state that similar bills have been
    introduced FedEx and UPS have become licensed to carry alcohol and are always required to check ID and only hand off the wine to adults 21 and over. If no one is home they do not deliver the wine and if on the third attempt to deliver there is not a legal adult to sign the wine off to, they send it back to the winery. It is virtually impossible for minors to get their hands on alcohol in this scenario.
    This issue has always been brought up as a concern, primarily because its the only tactic opponents of these bills utilize to strike fear into the hearts and minds of legislators and community members. The
    Supreme Court of the United States weighed in on this issue as stated in the 2005 Granholm v. Heald case regarding interstate wine shipping, page 1905 of the opinion:
    “The States provide little evidence that the purchase of wine over the Internet by minors is a problem. Indeed, there is some evidence to the contrary. A recent study by the staff of the FTC found that the 26 States currently allowing direct shipments report no problems with minors’ increased access to wine. FTC Report 34. This is not surprising for several reasons. First, minors are less likely to
    consume wine, as opposed to beer, wine coolers, and hard liquor…Second, minors who decide to disobey the law have more direct
    means of doing so. Third, direct shipping is an imperfect avenue of obtaining alcohol for minors who, in the words of the past president
    of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators, ‘‘ ‘want instant gratification.’ ’’
    Im not sure if there is any greater resource to blow that concern out of the water.

  8. Donna - March 20, 2009

    I don’t blame wholesalers for their dirty tactics and repressive positions. If I was in their business, and shoot me in the head if I ever am, I would play the same cards they have.
    But, since I don’t work for a wholesaler I say “cut them off at the knees and open the wine access floodgates (to those over 21 of course) and let us progress”.
    Oh, and god bless israeliwinedirect. Good new little business these past couple years.

  9. Larry Chandler - March 21, 2009

    The WSWA has been using the “kids will buy wine” canard for years. What’s suprising is that there haven’t been studies that show this is complete bull unless it’s set up as a sting. Or if there have been studies, it’s not communicated as well as the WSWA arguments.
    Kosher wine is available in New Jersey and not just the Manischewitz stuff either. Queen Anne emporium in Teaneck has one of the best selections of Kosher wines in the country. But that’s not the real issue. The issue is the government has no place telling anyone what to buy or not buy as long as the product is a legal one.
    Certainly the state of NJ knows that the Wine Library ships out of state, so where are the arguments that this one way trading is not legal? I doubt the state would move to shut down the WL operation as it brings in a huge amount of revenue to the state.
    And many people who live in NJ have the wines shipped to an address in New York which is an easy trip across the river for many of the folks in the northern part of the state. NY gets the benefit of the sales taxes on those shipments.

  10. Mark P - March 23, 2009

    I am a restaurant owner with a liquor license in NJ. While I don’t sell a great deal of package wine I believe I can add some incite from the other side. There is a fundamental misunderstanding about why NJ does not allow shipping from other states.
    NJ has an arcane liquor system called a three tier system. It is illegal to sell wine in NJ without a liquor license. A license must be purchased from a current license holder in the township you wish to own it. Each town has a finite amount of licenses (sometimes as few as 1 or 2) and it is nearly impossible for a town to create a new license. This has lead to astronomical prices for liquor licenses (they usually run between $150,000 and $1 million.
    This is a huge investment for the privilege of selling wine in a state. With this privilege comes with what is known as a three tier system. A licensed retailer is required to purchase from a NJ licensed wholesaler. For instance, though I have a personal relationship with a winemaker, I am unable to by direct.
    By NJ making it legal to ship into this state, it would not only devalue the huge investment small business people have made in their licenses, it would put them at a significant disadvantage compared to an entity that did not own one. This is the reason this bill is being met with resistance, not the availability of Kosher wines. Any retailer can get you a large assortment of Kosher wines, most of which will be significantly better than Manischewitz.
    Without a lot of cash to fix this system I’m afraid NJ needs to stay corked.

  11. Francis - March 23, 2009

    The State of NJ issued in-perpetuity liquor licenses and took a lot of money from licensees. In NJ, you have to pay that $150,000 to $1M up front and THEN pay the state a yearly renewal fee. All this for the right to sell alcohol to people in your town.
    If the state wants to give all that money back to the licensees and then get un-corked I don’t think anybody would have a problem with it. But you can’t charge someone a million dollars to purchase a license to be one of x number of places that can sell liquor and THEN let anybody out of state sell it as well WITHOUT them even having to buy a license.
    In a lot of mom and pop liquor stores and bars, the largest piece of equity those folks have is their license. If they state breaks its promise and devalues their licenses, the state is effectively siezing the asset of innocent people.
    Also, how can a local liquor store compete with an out of state retailer, when the locals store has to come up with maybe $500,000 to buy the license and $3,000 a year to renew it. The out of state retailer doesnt have to do any of that.
    Why discriminate AGAINST the local retailer. If you want a level playing field, give the licensees the value of their licenses an make it a level playing field.
    Oh and the total amount of equity in licenses that we’re talkig about is counted in the billions of dollars.
    Unless the state has the billions, NJ should stay corked.

  12. Tom Wark - March 23, 2009

    The general mistake with your argument Francis is that out of state wineries or retailers don’t have the same access to the NJ market that the in-state retailers do. Out of state retailers don’t have a storefront, don’t have a road that drives by their storefront and don’t have signs attracting buyers to their storefront. This makes it significantly different than what you describe. A store in Michigan that might obtain a wine shippers license in NJ is still in Michigan.

  13. April Lyzak - May 26, 2009

    Wine Expert, Gary Fisch, Named Museum of Early Trades & Crafts’ 2009 Craftsman of the Year
    On Sunday, June 7th at 2 PM the Board of Trustees of Museum of Early Trades & Crafts in Madison, NJ, will honor Gary Fisch as the 2009 Craftsman of the Year.
    Gary Fisch is the eighth New Jersey resident to be recognized by the Museum Board for his knowledge, dedication & promotion of wine appreciation.
    Proprietor of Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Gary Fisch has dedicated his life to learning all there is to know about wine. After many years of extensive study at the Sommelier Institute in New Jersey and at several of Windows on the World’s wine courses, Gary began setting up wine seminars for restaurants and sales staff. In 1987, his love for and vast knowledge of wine lead Gary to partner with his brother Mark and open his first store located in Madison. Eventually becoming Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Gary has moved his Madison store to a larger facility in town and opened three additional stores, one in Livingston (which has since been sold), Bernardsville and Wayne.
    Gary still thirsts for knowledge when it comes to the field of wine. In order to expand his expertise of the tasty subject, Gary travels extensively, including regular visits to California, France and Italy. Gary’s expertise has also earned him national media attention. He has been “The Wine Guy” on the TV Food Network show – Bobby Flay Hot off the Grill, and has made guest appearances on CNN, New Jersey 12 and Bloomberg radio and television.
    In addition to his entrepreneurship in promoting the trades & crafts associated with wine, cheese and fine foods, Gary has been a steadfast supporter of charitable organizations and events in the communities where he lives and works.
    The Craftsman of the Year award was established in 2002 as a means to honor New Jerseyans who have, in their own unique ways, significantly advanced the Museum’s mission.
    Last year, the Museum recognized founder of The Astragal Press, Martyl Pollak. Other past honorees were historian and author John Cunningham; Richard Bagger, then a state senator and long-time Museum supporter; past METC trustee and Collections Manager, Malcolm Dick; former Madison High School Music Director, John Bunnell; restorationist Carmine Toto and tool expert Herbert Kean.
    The Museum would like to especially acknowledge Gary’s Wine & Marketplace for their generous support.
    Tickets are $35, includes reception and wine lecture by Gary Fisch. Pre-registration is recommended. Please call 973-377-2982 x14 or visit for tickets.

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