Well it looks like a limited form of direct shipping is going to become law in Maryland. Ultimately a watered down version of the proposed legislation passed and is awaiting the governor’s signature. If signed the new law will take effect on July 1st and allow wineries to ship their products directly to Maryland consumers. With each consumer being limited to eighteen cases of wine per year.
Unfortunately the provisions allowing direct shipping from out-of-state retailers or on-line specialty Web sites as some consumers (me included!) had hoped failed. There was apparently enormous pressure from the alcohol wholesalers lobby who want to keep their monopoly. Both Virginia and West Virginia allow direct shipping from retailers to consumers and the sky has not fallen there. In anticipation of the new law I went online and signed up for half-dozen wineries’ mailing lists. I went a little nuts and if they all come through I’ll have to get a second job. And although proponents of direct shipping are vowing to push for expansion of the law next year I am also researching (purely for informational purposes, of course) where the nearest mailboxes etc type store is in Va or Wv.
UPDATE: Governor O’Malley signed the bill into law on April 13th.