Proposed Wisconsin Budget Could Affect Direct Shipping and Self Distribution

The Wisconsin Senate amended and passed the proposed 2007-09 biennial budget bill to include a Direct Shipper’s Permit for wineries. As is, the amendment removes Wisconsin’s reciprocal language and allows permitted wineries to ship up to 27 liters per year directly to individual consumers. However, the bill would also restrict the amount of wine consumers can purchase directly from all wineries across the country to 27 liters per year.

If Passed, the amendment would also create a fee structure for the Direct Shipper’s Permit. For wineries that ship more than 90 liters annually into Wisconsin, the fee would be $1,000.00. Wineries shipping between 27 and 90 liters per year would pay a fee of $500.00, and wineries that ship less than 27 liters of wine annually to Wisconsin would pay a fee $100.00.

Furthermore, wineries wishing to ship directly to Wisconsin consumers would be required to obtain a tax registration certificate, report all wines shipped, their prices, along with the name, address, and age of the person to whom they were shipped annually.

Finally, the amendment would remove a winery’s ability to sell directly to retailers. Under the proposed law, wineries would be forced to sell their wines through a licensed wholesaler. Reportedly, wine distributors in Wisconsin claim the amendment was necessary to comply with Granholm. However, the amendment has received strong criticism from Wisconsin vintners who fear that the loss of self distribution privileges would cause significant losses in revenue.

The budget proposal will be considered next by the Wisconsin House of Representatives. As always, the ShipCompliant Research Team is closely monitoring the progress of Wisconsin’s Budget Bill and will report as updates occur.

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