Finally! After years of waiting, Maryland wine lovers will soon be
able to send wine home from their California vacation, thanks to a new
law approved by the state legislature in the session just ended.
In a time when the economy is still struggling, Congress can barely
manage to keep the federal government going, and Japan tries to cope
with the devastation caused by last month’s earthquake and tsunami, it
seems somewhat parochial and selfish to crow about direct shipping. But
it has been a frustrating effort as we Marylanders waited to join the
residents of 37 other states and the District of Columbia who already
can have wine shipped directly to their homes. For years, we’ve been
denied this by the greedy wholesalers’ lobby, which predicted doom and
gloom if direct shipping were to become law, and which only begrudgingly
agreed to this year’s legislation.
It’s not a total victory – we can’t order wine from out-of-state
retailers, for example. And the legislature wouldn’t approve corkage
bills that would have allowed diners to bring their own wine to Maryland
restaurants. But we’ll take it.
Kudos to Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws and the Maryland Wineries Association
for their efforts over the years to make this law a reality. And cheers
to the lawmakers who took a positive step forward. (Even if you did
raise the alcohol tax … )
More details on the new direct shipping legislation are in my Washington Post column for April 6.