As mentioned in a previous post, the New Jersey Legislature is considering a bill to permit wine shipments into the state. For wine lovers, like myself, the passage of this bill would be great news. At the moment, residents of the Garden State are prohibited from receiving wine shipments. This law excludes us from being able to purchase many limited production California wines available only from mailing lists are from the winery. Here is an update from yesterdays Gloucester County Times.
SENATE APPROVES SWEENEY MEASURE ALLOWING SHIPMENTS OF WINE
TRENTON The wine may soon be in the mail.
A bill sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney to lift the direct-shipping ban on wine in the Garden State was approved by the Senate on Thursday by a vote of 29-5. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.
Specifically, the law would make it possible for wineries to ship their products directly to customers and allow New Jersey residents to receive mail-order wine.
“Allowing direct shipments of wine to and from New Jersey will not only enhance consumer choice, but would provide essential inroads for our budding wine industry,” said Sweeney, D-3, of West Deptford Township. “With our wineries producing better and better wines and winning prestigious awards, we should be expanding, not limiting, access to New Jersey wines.”
If enacted, New Jersey would join 35 other states that currently have direct-shipping laws on the books.
The bill, S-766, would authorize the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission to issue direct-shipping licenses to holders of either a New Jersey plenary winery license with retail privileges or a New Jersey farm winery license. Out-of-state shippers also would be allowed to receive a shipping license, with the stipulation that they provide the Division of Taxation payment for any excise and sales taxes due and an annual report noting quantity and type of alcoholic beverages shipped to New Jersey consumers.
“New Jersey consumers should not have to be limited only to what’s in stock at their local wine store, nor should they have to drive half-way across the state to get a quality New Jersey wine,” said Stack, D-Hudson County, a co-sponsor of the bill. “Likewise, out-of-state visitors who try New Jersey wines and want to purchase them shouldn’t be shut out. It’s time we give consumers and vintners the ability to deal directly with each other.”
New Jersey is the sixth-largest wine producing state in the country. New Jersey wines also have won an increasing number of national and international awards.
“I think it’s great,” said Ed Gaventa, who along with his wife, Marsha, own Cedarvale Winery in Logan Township. “We’re already in touch with the people we need in order to do this correctly. … We could probably start tomorrow if it was ready to go.”
Gaventa, who relies mostly on sales from visitors to his winery, said this will would create “unrealized” business.
“It might only be 5 percent more business for us, but in the long run, whatever it might be will help us,” said Gaventa.