Free the Grapes! Urges Lawmakers to Pass House Bill 210
NAPA, Calif., December 21, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Want to pop a bottle of sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve? If you live in Delaware, state law prohibits you from purchasing and receiving that bubbly directly from one of America’s excellent sparkling wineries.
Along with Mississippi and Utah, Delaware continues an archaic ban on winery direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipments.
But Delaware House Bill 210 would allow for limited, regulated DTC shipments from American wineries licensed by the state to do so. HB 210 is sponsored by Delaware Representative Michael Smith with additional sponsors including Senators Hocker and Lopez, and Representatives Gray, Spiegelman, and Schwartzkopf. The bill is in the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee.
“There is no valid public policy reason to ban winery direct shipments and deny our consumers what wine lovers in other states now take for granted. Every surrounding state to Delaware is already doing it,” said Representative Smith. “House Bill 210 builds in safeguards, tax collections and other provisions already proven effective,” he added.
Consumer Convenience, Except in Delaware
No doubt spurred by pandemic-induced limits on travel, dining and shopping, wine shipments from U.S. wineries to consumers grew 27% in 2020, the largest recorded single year growth ever, according to Wines Vines Analytics/Sovos ShipCompliant, two organizations that have jointly produced data on direct-to-consumer wine shipping since 2010. Experts also report continued growth in DTC shipments in 2021.
Over the past nine years, direct shipping nationwide grew by an average of 10.5 percent in volume. By contrast, shipments to neighboring states by volume grew by 99.9 percent in Pennsylvania, 66.6 percent in Maryland, and 32.8 percent in New York.
“Delaware consumers continue to face needless restrictions on how they purchase and enjoy wine,” said Jeremy Benson, executive director of Free the Grapes!, a national grassroots coalition of wine lovers and wineries who seek to remove bans and streamline restrictions. “We hope that at this time next year, Delawareans will be able to break out a favorite bubbly purchased directly from an American winery,” he added.
Free the Grapes encourages consumers to visit its website and take two minutes to urge their legislators to support HB 210 and eliminate the DTC ban in Delaware.
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Jeremy Benson, Free the Grapes!, firstname.lastname@example.org, 917.633.6002, EXT 2