Doyle uses veto on Wisconsin budget bill

There was a flurry of activity this week in Wisconsin related to DTC shipping and self-distribution. You will recall that last month a host of onerous shipping provisions were included in the House version of the budget. These proposals would have repealed the existing reciprocal shipping statutes, replacing them with an entirely unworkable and exorbitantly expensive permit system. Just this week, we were able to amend the language related to DTC shipping in the final budget package to an acceptable package that would have allowed for a reasonable permit fee, as well as a 12-case per consumer limit (up from the 3 case original proposal). Unfortunately, the local wine industry was unable to secure a fix to the language banning self-distribution, which remained in the final budget. Early this morning, Governor Jim Doyle vetoed the entire section dealing with alcohol statutes, saying

“While the changes to the distribution system included in these sections may help address some concerns with sales of alcohol to minors, they also may have stifling economic effects on the small wineries around the state, forcing them out of business…While I am vetoing these provisions, I support the concept of a three-tier distribution system. The language included in the bill, however, does not adequately address the needs of small entrepreneurial wineries…”


  1. Fred S.

    OK, after going on an emotional roller coaster the last few days, I am still lost. Does anyone know if this means the status quo is maintained (e.g., reciprocity with CA is still in place, with OR to fall at the first of the year)? If so, what does it mean for folks with OR, VA and other state shipments to WI? Help!

  2. lyn

    This is the definition of reciprocal.
    Reciprocal states : This category is now shrinking as more states transition to limited direct / permit status. For the time being, this means that only wineries in another reciprocal state can ship into the reciprocal states. For example, a winery in a prohibited state wouldn’t be able to ship into a reciprocal state. The Supreme Court indicated this is a problem in May of 2005 – this is why we are moving away from these and towards more limited direct / permit states.

    Unfortunately Wisconsin wineries can only ship to another reciprocal state, Iowa, Ill, NM and CA, OR, VA, etc with limited/permit states can not ship to Wisconsin.

    I am just tired of hearing “sections may help address some concerns with sales of alcohol to minors”. States need to stop hiding behind that reasoning and get real about what it is really about. It’s really about protecting distributors and collecting additional alcohol taxes, i.e. “The Money”. Protectionism does not work or is it a constitutional right.

    It’s time wine consumers stand up and fight all legislation regarding shipping wine. We should be able to ship to ourselves if we are at a winery in state or out of state and able to purchase wine from wineries anywhere in the world.

  3. Fred S.

    Lyn, are you saying CA went to a permit system? I read that OR is doing it at the first of the year, but I am not aware of CA doing it. I simply cannot do without my Kosta Browne, Hobbs, Loring, AP Vin, Merry Edwards, etc. Truthfully, I cannot imagine anyone in CA ever placing an order for WI wine, so if the permit system must unfold, let’s get it done and in a manner that the small wineries can not just survive, but thrive in. I don’t trust Doyle to roll out a separate bill platter that is tasteful to the DTC wine lover at the expense of his donation happy distributor base. The budget line item veto has got to be a short term bone thrown to the WI wineries though I suspect he vetoed it because the local (awesome) small brewery/brewpub base was caught up in the legislation. He won’t hide his stripes forever.

  4. Jeff Carroll - VP of Compliance, ShipCompliant

    Fred, yes that means status quo is maintained until new legislation is considered in 2008. Badger consumers will have to wait until then to receive shipments from wineries in states with which WI does not have a reciprocal arrangement.

    Lyn, I don’t think there is anything in the WI statutes that prohibits a WI winery from shipping to a limited/direct state. Generally speaking, with the exception of New York, if a state has adopted a permit system post-Granholm, they allow wineries from any of the 50 states to get a permit. So, WI wineries should be able to ship to non-reciprocal states.


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