Lawmakers Consider Allowing Wine Shipments In Mass.
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BOSTON (CBS) — Kip Kumler loves his wine.
In fact he loves it so much, fifteen years ago he opened up his own winery in Lincoln called Turtle Creek.
He along with other wine lovers say it’s time for state lawmakers to allow consumers to buy wine from any state they want.
Right now, Massachusetts state law prohibits out of state wineries from shipping directly to customers.
“You will find that every winery in Mass. is in favor of direct shipment. The more choice the consumer has the better it is for all participants,” Kumler said.
At the State House on Tuesday, the Joint Committee On Consumer And Professional Licensure heard testimonies from business owners and customers pushing for a winery-to-consumer bill to be passed.
Richard Libby owns his own winery in California but has offices in Ipswich.
“I can’t even get my own samples of wine sent to me in Ipswich. It’s time for Massachusetts to get with it,” Libby said.
State Representative Ted Speliotis says opponents fear direct shipping may effect small retailers and package stores.
“We are thinking about the small package store. We have thousands of employees in the state and they are concerned when we open up the doors to the internet,”Speliotis said.
Supporters of the bill say this is a high end specialty and will not hurt retailers.
“I’d say it’s a win-win for consumers and wineries in the state if the bill is passed,” Kumler said.
Massachusetts residents could soon have wine shipped right to their door.
In March, former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe appeared at the State House in support of direct shipping.
“It’s a big deal, particularly for the small wineries around the country, of which I think there are about 8,000 wineries. Being able to ship new cases of wine direct to customers in a state like Massachusetts certainly makes a difference for some small wineries,” Bledsoe said in March.
Bledsoe owns Doubleback Winery in Washington state.
Massachusetts is the second largest of 9 states that currently prohibit winery-to-consumer wine shipments.
Currently, consumers need to contract a third-party shipping company to have wines delivered from a winery to a Massachusetts address.
The bill is opposed by a group that represents liquor outlets in the state.