New York consumers will now be able to order from Oregon wineries, a move that wasn't immediately possible after New York passed a law in June allowing out-of-state producers to ship directly to state residents.
Oregon's Liquor Control Commission, with the help of the attorney general's office, has drafted an advisory explaining that the state's law allows for direct shipping of wine between Oregon and New York. The action was deemed necessary when it became clear that differing wording in the two states' laws could prevent Oregon wineries from shipping to customers in New York. In turn, it wasn't entirely clear whether New York wineries would be allowed to ship to Oregon.
Oregon is one of 14 so-called reciprocal states, which allow direct shipments--without the need to buy a special permit or pay taxes--only from wineries in other states that extend the same privileges. New York's new law--which was passed in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling --requires wineries to buy a shipping permit and therefore was not technically encompassed by Oregon's direct-shipping laws.
Earl Jones, owner of Abacela Vineyards and Winery in Roseburg, Ore., figured that all he had to do was fill out New York's license application before he could start shipping wine to consumers there. Then he hit questions 35 and 36 on page 3 of the application form.
"In order to complete your paperwork, you must prove that Oregon will allow New York wineries to ship into the state of Oregon, and this must be explicitly stated in your rules and regulations," said Jones. "The terminology in New York law says that the state of New York must be mentioned by the other state."
So Jones quickly called the Oregon Wine Advocacy Council, which began working with the Liquor Control Commission and the attorney general. "Historically, we have not had written agreements with other states--just informal conversations," said Darleene Meyer, a wholesale and manufacturing specialist with the Liquor Control Commission. "New York specifically says on their application, 'Attach a copy of a ruling or advisory from your state saying that there's reciprocity,'" she explained.
The advisory was drafted quickly--about three weeks after Jones raised the issue. "We will make this document available to any of our licensees who want to apply in New York, so they can attach that to their application," said Meyer.
That's welcome news to small Oregon wineries, like Styring Vineyards in Newberg, Ore. "I think I'll apply easily within the next six months, perhaps sooner," said Kelley Styring, director of marketing. "[This] agreement is good for consumers and wineries in New York and Oregon."
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions