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News & Features  :  Unfiltered

A Tribute to Charlie Trotter, for His Cause

Plus, Château d'Arsac taps Zulu winemaker for Winemaker's Collection, graffiti lands on wine labels, and Pennsylvania busts a civil disobedient wine smuggler

Posted: January 16, 2014  

Nov. 15, 2013 Issue  :  News

New York Orders New Jersey Retailer to Stay Out

Posted: November 15, 2013  By Robert Taylor

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

Jolie-Pitt's Miraval Stars at Charity Auction

Plus, the Duck Dynasty boys get a wine label, Napa Valley gears up for its annual film festival and Massachusetts wine shipping hits another wall

Posted: November 7, 2013  

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

If They Only Had a Brain

With one piece of mail, New York government aimed to further limit wine shoppers' choices instead of expanding them—and the state's coffers

Posted: October 15, 2013  By Robert Taylor

This past August, the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) quietly issued a cease-and-desist letter to New Jersey's Wine Library, one of the largest retailers in the Garden State and a popular wine source for many New Yorkers.

The SLA ordered Wine Library to stop shipping wine to New Yorkers, a practice that is technically illegal but that has been happening for years without complaint or repercussion. Cease-and-desist letter or not, the ban is practically unenforceable-the SLA simply doesn't have the manpower to adequately monitor interstate sales.

Because of the letter, Wine Library and a few other out-of-state retailers indicated they would stop selling wine to New Yorkers. New York retailers worried that they would start receiving similar letters from alcohol authorities in other states, as a form of retaliation. Since then, however, there's been nothing but silence from the authorities, and Wine Library has continued shipping wine to New York.

News & Features  :  News

New York Alcohol Authorities Order New Jersey's Wine Library to Stay Out of Their State

State Liquor Authority sends cease-and-desist letter to prominent retailer; sign of an organized crackdown on retailer shipping?

Posted: August 23, 2013  By Robert Taylor

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

No Slowing the Winery Direct Shipping Movement

Direct-to-consumer wine sales jumped dramatically again in 2012, to the tune of $1.46 billion

Posted: May 2, 2013  By Robert Taylor

The numbers are in and, as expected, 2012 was another banner year for winery direct-to-consumer shipping. American wineries shipped nearly 3.2 million cases of wine directly to consumers’ front doors in 2012, at a value of $1.46 billion.

That’s a 7.7 percent increase in volume and a 10 percent increase in value over 2011. Not only are Americans buying more wine straight from the cellar, we’re buying more expensive wine—at an average price of $38.42 per bottle, up from $37.63 in 2011 and $36.56 in 2010.

$1.46 billion, with a B, is an eye-popping sum. But these numbers, presented in an annual report issued in April by ShipCompliant and Wines & Vines, shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been following the decade-plus-long fight to make winery direct shipping legal across the United States. Today it’s permitted in 39 states, and a look at a few newcomers confirms that wine lovers love having the option to buy straight from the winery, especially smaller wineries that aren’t carried by local wholesalers.

Rep. Theodore Speliotis has introduced House Bill 294, which would allow local and out-of-state wineries, after applying for a $100 state permit, to ship up to 24 cases of wine a year to Massachusetts residents. Sen. Daniel Wolf has co-sponsored the bill, crafted with the assistance of the Wine Institute, a winery advocacy organization.

And now the bill's proponents have a new secret weapon: former Patriots quarterback-turned-Washington vintner Drew Bledsoe.

News & Features  :  News

New York Faces New Wine Sales Restrictions

Consumers could have fewer choices if legislation squeezes small wholesalers, while State Liquor Authority forbids some third-party wine sales

Posted: April 25, 2013  By Robert Taylor

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Has Massachusetts Winery Shipping Legislation Finally Reached the Red Zone?

Patriots QB-turned-vintner Drew Bledsoe is under center in the drive to pass House Bill 294

Posted: March 21, 2013  By Robert Taylor

Will this be the year that Massachusetts, the seventh-largest wine-consuming state, finally gets a legitimate winery-to-consumer shipping bill? Hopes are high in the Bay State, despite repeated setbacks: The state's most recent direct-shipping law passed in 2005 and, not long afterward, was ruled unconstitutional. The preceding law had been declared unconstitutional as well.

Rep. Theodore Speliotis has introduced House Bill 294, which would allow local and out-of-state wineries, after applying for a $100 state permit, to ship up to 24 cases of wine a year to Massachusetts residents. Sen. Daniel Wolf has co-sponsored the bill, crafted with the assistance of the Wine Institute, a winery advocacy organization.

And now the bill's proponents have a new secret weapon: former Patriots quarterback-turned-Washington vintner Drew Bledsoe.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

You Can't Buy That From Here

Wineries can ship a bottle of wine to consumers in 39 states and counting. So why are retailer shipping rights going in the opposite direction?

Posted: February 26, 2013  By Robert Taylor

We Americans have access to more wines today than ever before. Your local wholesaler carries a vast array of wines from which your local retailers select their inventory. If you can't find what you want that way, in 39 states and Washington, D.C., you can order a bottle from a winery in another state. Wherever you live, you could likely drink a different bottle of wine every day for the rest of your life. Call me greedy, but I don’t think that’s enough.

Say you're trying to track down a bottle you want from Wine Spectator's annual Top 100 Wines of the Year: 69 percent of the Top 100 wines from 2006 to 2012 were imported.

Your local wholesaler or state liquor authority decides which, if any, of those imported wines are available to you. If they don't offer it, and you live anywhere other than the 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that permit out-of-state retailers to ship directly to consumers, you're out of luck.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

National Fight Over Retailer Wine-Shipping Resurfaces in Nebraska

Are new measures to restrict online wine sales a sign of more struggles to come?

Posted: February 21, 2013  By Robert Taylor

After years of legal struggles culminating in a 2005 Supreme Court decision, wine lovers in 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, can buy directly from out-of-state wineries. The trend seems to be to continue removing restrictions: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are considering bills to become the 40th and 41st states to permit wineries to ship directly to their residents.

But for U.S. retailers, the trend has gone in the opposite direction. Only 14 states currently permit their residents to order wine from out-of-state retailers, down from 18 states in 2005. Now, Nebraska is considering a bill that would hamper retailer shipping, which has been legal there since 1992, and require retailers to have their list of brand offerings pre-approved by the state’s liquor control commission.

Nebraska State Senator Russ Karpisek introduced Legislative Bill 230 in January, which would have limited direct shipping to "manufacturers" (wineries) only. Nebraska's original law—among the earliest measures addressing direct shipping—permitted “persons” licensed to sell alcohol to obtain a shipping license, wording chosen long before online wine retailers became a force in the market.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Direct Effects

A state-mandated study of winery direct shipping in Maryland yielded overwhelmingly positive results for consumers and the government

Posted: January 29, 2013  By Robert Taylor

When Maryland state comptroller Peter Franchot presented a "Study on the Impact of Direct Wine Shipment" to the state's General Assembly this past December, it confirmed everything direct-shipping proponents have been saying since the 1980s: Direct shipping offers consumers greater choice, brings more tax revenue in for the state, and poses no credible risk of increased underage drinking.

News & Features  :  Unfiltered

Best of Unfiltered 2012

Destruction trumped beauty in 2012, just barely, with demolished wineries drawing attention from models, actresses and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Posted: December 27, 2012  

Dec. 15, 2012 Issue  :  News

Amazon to Try Wine, Again

Posted: December 15, 2012  By Tim Fish, Augustus Weed

News & Features  :  News

Giving the Gift of Wine via Facebook

Facebook Gifts enables members of legal age to buy and ship wine to one another

Posted: December 14, 2012  By Robert Taylor

News & Features  :  News

Amazon Launches Wine Sales Site

Web retail giant partners with U.S. wineries; rival Wine.com launches a competing site

Posted: November 8, 2012  By Tim Fish

Oct. 31, 2012 Issue  :  Features

Canada Inches Toward Direct Shipping

Posted: October 31, 2012  By Robert Taylor

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Will Amazon Change The Way We Buy Wine?

The web retail giant's plans for wine are modest—for now

Posted: October 11, 2012  By Mitch Frank

When I heard the news that Amazon executives were meeting with wineries, hoping to launch Amazon.com Wine Marketplace before year's end, I was reminded of the play Waiting For Godot. In Samuel Beckett's work, two characters spend two acts waiting in vain for Godot, whom we never meet. There's a sense that everything will change once Godot shows up. For a dozen years now, the wine industry has been waiting for Bezos—Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, who has made unsuccessful stabs at selling wine twice before.

Amazon loves efficiency, and the wine business, where each state is like a separate country with different laws, is not efficient. But either Bezos is a wine lover or he sees great potential in it, because Amazon is back. If it succeeds in launching Wine Marketplace, the question is: Will this truly be a game changer for the wine business or just an absurdist drama?

News & Features  :  News

Amazon to Try Wine, Again

Web retail giant meeting with wineries, planning new “wine marketplace”

Posted: September 28, 2012  By Tim Fish

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Where'd You Get That Wine?

Direct shipping sales have grown to $1.35 billion in just seven years, but they could grow a lot more

Posted: September 27, 2012  By Mitch Frank

Fall tends to be my favorite time of year, a sentiment many wine lovers apparently share. After a long, hot summer, temperatures are finally dipping—and lower temperatures bring happy boxes to my door. When the weather cools off, wineries I order from can ship bottles to my New Orleans home without fretting that summer heat will turn their Merlot into Madeira. A new study finds that October is the busiest month for direct shipping orders from U.S. wineries.

More than seven years have passed since the Supreme Court's Granholm decision, which said that state governments cannot prohibit out-of-state wineries from shipping to residents while allowing in-state wineries to do so. Today, 39 states allow some form of direct shipping, up from 27 before the 2005 ruling.

The new report, authored by Ship Compliant, measured the direct shipping market from August 2011 to July 2012, surveying every U.S. winery in Wines & Vines' comprehensive directory about their direct shipping sales. They found that consumers ordered 2.98 million cases of wine in that time. With a value of $1.35 billion, that wine represents 8.6 percent of the total wine market in the United States by value. (Tasting room sales that were shipped to customers' homes were not included, which would make the growth even bigger.)

News & Features  :  News

Canada Inches Toward Wine Direct Shipping

Parliament repeals national ban, giving provinces the choice to allow shipping, but few have decided so far

Posted: July 30, 2012  By Robert Taylor

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