A bill is being considered in Georgia that could potentially open up the state to all wineries for direct shipping. The permit system that is in place right now works pretty well for eligible wineries, but the major issue is that some funky language makes it so that wineries cannot ship offsite orders to Georgia residents if the winery is represented by a distributor in Georgia.
3-6-31.(c)(4)No holder of a special order shipping license shall accept any order for any wine that is otherwise registered and designated pursuant to this title or from a person who is licensed under this title;
That little paragraph causes big problems for many wineries. House Bill 1061 would eliminate the distributor restriction, and would introduce a few more minor changes:
- a winery would no longer have to pay a bond, designate sales territories, or name a wholesaler in each territory (a conflicting law);
- brands must still be registered;
- the person placing the order must state affirmatively that he or she is of age before the order can be processed;
- of-age individuals are limited to 12 cases of wine from each licensee per year (up from 5 cases per household); and
- it is explicitly stated that wineries may not ship to licensed premises,that sales and excise taxes must be paid and that a shipper must be a winery.
House Bill 1061 has already been approved by the house and was read and referred to a committee on February 28th by the Senate. All in all it’s not a bad bill: More wineries can ship to Georgia, the law makes more sense, and Georgia gets more money.