After years of repeated attempts to open the state to wine shipping, Maryland wine lovers will soon be able to have wine shipped directly to their doors. Signed by the Governor today, the new law makes Maryland the second state this year — after New Mexico — to pass new direct wine shipping permit legislation. This flurry of wine shipping legislation comes after no new states opened to direct shipping legislation in 2010.
Two important factors paved the path to the passage of direct shipping legislation in Maryland. First, a local citizens organization, “Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws”, kept pressure on the Maryland legislature year after year even though earlier direct shipping bills were defeated. Second, the Maryland Comptroller’s office released a Direct Wine Shipment Report late last year debunking many of the claims made by opponents of wine shipping concerning minor access to wine and harm that might come to local business as a result of wine shipments.
Though retailers were included in original versions of the direct shipping legislation, they were left out of the final language, perhaps in part, because the Comptroller’s Report did not advocate for retail-to-consumer shipping.
The new law takes effect July 1, 2011 and allows wineries to obtain a Direct Wine Shipper’s Permit for $200 (renew annually). Each licensed winery will be allowed to ship up to 18 cases of wine to a single delivery address each year and will be responsible for quarterly reporting and payment of excise and sales taxes on all shipments made into the state. Potential shippers now await permit application and instruction forms from the Maryland Comptroller, which could be made available any time. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.