The Gritty Reality of the New Maryland Wine Shipping Law
Maryland is receiving applications for and issuing licenses to allow the direct shipment of wine. This was the big news last week and the result of a multi-year effort by wine consumers and their advocates in the state. And as of July 1, the following wineries have been issued or applied for licenses to ship direct to Marylanders:
Black Ankle, Frederick County, Maryland
Boordy Vineyards, Baltimore County, Maryland
Elk Run Vineyards, Carroll County, Maryland
Far Eastern Shore Winery, Talbot County, Maryland
Fiore Winery, Harford CountyKnob Hall Winery, Washington County, Marylalnd
Layton's Chance Vineyard & Winery, Dorchester County, Maryland
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, Frederick County, Maryland
Terrapin Station Winery, Montgomery County, Maryland
Tilmon's Island Winery, Queen Anne's County, Maryland
Bell Wine Cellars
Bookwalter Winery, Washington
Chateau Julien, California
Chateau Morrisette, Virginia
Clos Pegase Winery, California
Cristom Vineyards, Oregon
Far Niente Winery, California
Frog's Leap Winery, California
Nickel & Nickel, California
Pride Mountain Vineyards, California
Robert Craig Winery, California
Robert Sinskey Vineyards, California
St. Supery Vineyard & Winery, California
Thomas Fogarty Winery, California
Trefethen Vineyards Winery, California
Westport Winery, Washington
Wine Group, California
ZD Wines, California
It's not a long list, yet, but I'm sure it will grow. I'd bet upwards of 300-500 wineries will have applied for licenses by this time next year.
But here's the rub, and I know its a rub because I worked on this issue on behalf of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association: the number of wines available to Marylanders via direct shipment if wine stores were allowed to ship into that state would have been more on this very day than they will be in a year from now.
And as long as we are rubbing ourselves, there's this:
The state of Maryland would have collected more tax revenues on wine shipments by the end of this year than they will all of next year, if only Marylanders were allowed to have wine shipped to them from wine stores.
Let's keep up all this rubbing:
Not a single bottle of French, German, Italian, Spanish, German, Austrian, Argentinian, Canadian, New Zealand or any other foreign wine will get into the hands of Maryland wine lovers via direct shipment by the time 300-500 wineries get their licenses to ship because it is illegal for wine stores to ship to Marylanders: Only wine stores sell imported wines.
I want all of my readers now to close their eyes. Imagine nothingness. Imagine blackness. Imagine deadness. Ok. Now imagine all that nothingness, blackness and deadness emmanating from the eyes of lawmakers and wholesalers. That is exactly the image that struck back at me and met my eyes when I explained all these consequences of banning wine stores from shipping to Marylanders.
Consumers in Maryland have nothing like real rights to have wine shipped to them. They are being denied access to the real American wine market because lawmakers in Maryland threw their own wine stores, threw real commerce, threw real tax revenues and threw real Maryland wine consumers under the bus for the sake of appeasing a constituency that has their hands so deep into the putrid well of special interests that they will never be able to remove the muck, grit and dirty grime that has accumulated under their nails.
Word is that next year there may be an attempt to amend the Maryland wine shipping law to allow in-state and out-of-state retailers to ship wine to Maryland residents. This would be good not only for Maryland wine consumers, free trade, and wine stores, but for the 1000s of American wineries that will not have a license to ship wine to Marylanders. Retailers, given the chance to ship wine, will happily sell these wineries' goods that they have obtained from wholesalers in various states. And of course, in addition to these wines, wines of France, Germany, Italy and other far off lands will finally be made available to Marylanders after years of having to be satisfied with the comparative paltry selection provide to them by Maryland wholesaler who supply the state's retailers.
Let's hope that all the folks who got behind winery shipping demonstrates their regard for Maryland consumers against and fixes this badly shaped wine shipping law.