NJ’s favorite alcoholic drink is wine – but shipping limits hamper consumer choice
State Senate Committee Hears Call for Reform
TRENTON (June 16, 2021) – Beer, wine or liquor – people have their best choices. New Jersey residents are no exception. In the state of the garden, wine at the top of the list as prefer alcoholic drink. It’s ironic, however, that wine tops the list, as New Jersey places strict limits on direct-to-consumer shipments from U.S. wineries.
This limit, also known as the “capacity cap,” prohibits wineries producing more than 106,000 cases of wine per year (a mid-size winery) from shipping directly to consumers. This means that New Jersey residents cannot have 90% of domestic wine shipped directly to their homes. For a state filled with wine lovers, this is certainly inconvenient.
American winemakers and New Jersey consumers argued on June 16 before the state Senate Commerce Committee that the arbitrary limit should be removed. Those who testified in favor of Bills A1943 / S2683 said removing the capacity cap would not only expand the choice of New Jersey wine enthusiasts, but also bring the state more tax revenue. sales / excise and shipping permit fees – no loss of business for New Jersey retailers.
Terri Cofer Beirne, consultant for the East of the Wine Institute, said: âThese bills will help wineries in the state. The Garden State Winegrowers Association has taken a neutral stance towards them. Some large New Jersey wineries are hitting the cap and will soon lose the ability to ship wine to customers in the state. The only government study on the impact of direct wine shipping on existing businesses was in Maryland, and after a year of new wine shipping law, that state found “minimal impact. or null “on wholesalers.
Anne Huffsmith, General Counsel at Naked Wines USA, added: âWe have no evidence that in the past nine years, allowing US wineries to ship direct to consumers in New Jersey has hurt local businesses, y including local retailers, wholesalers and wineries in New Jersey. In fact, New Jersey wineries were the primary beneficiaries of the bill because, before it was passed, they could not ship their wines directly to consumers in New Jersey. Now they can do it.
Alan Sharp, a New Jersey consumer from Pennsauken, brought the conversation back to consumers: âIt’s about consumer choice. There’s a lot of stuff out there that you can’t get in the store.
Greg Kryder, CFO of Penrose Hill Winery in California, submitted several statements from the company’s New Jersey clients:
“Please allow New Jersey residents to take advantage of wine delivery from outside vineyards.” We’re at a disservice, especially after the pandemic, when delivery services were our only options. Free the grapes !!! â – Daveens (no last name given) Sicklerville
âIt seems pretty absurd that marijuana is now legal in New Jersey, but we can’t appreciate the wine we choose. Let us step into the 21st century and pass the bills. – Peter (no last name given), Mahwah.
âI wanted to ship wines directly to my home from places I visit in Napa and elsewhere and found New Jersey’s obscure restrictions really frustrating. Please open up New Jersey, like almost every other state. – Fred (no last name given), Basking Ridge.
“I want to be registered as a citizen of New Jersey as follows: Regardless of political issues, I want the right to buy and have state wines delivered to my door at my doorstep.” – James (no last name given), Bridgewater
47 states allow direct-to-consumer shipping from US wineries. Of those states, only New Jersey and Ohio limit choice based on the size of a winery’s production.
For more information on the ‘Free the Grapes’ campaign in New Jersey, visit https://freethegrapes.org/.
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