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Wine Spectator: Wine Shipping Advocates Mount A New Push

August 21, 2019

As of August 1, Florida residents can order and receive wine from out-of-state retailers through common carriers. That’s big news for fine wine retailers looking to ship to consumers in the Sunshine State, which represents a huge market for alcohol sales. According to Impact Databank, Florida’s wine market totaled nearly 28.7 million 9-liter cases last year, ranking second only to California, to take an 8.7% share of U.S. wine volume overall. It’s the third-most populous state in the U.S.—and now the most populous to allow direct-to-consumer retailer shipping from out of state.

The Florida Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (DABT) issued a ruling allowing the practice in response to Indiana retailer Kahn’s Fine Wine and Spirits, which filed a request for clarification on the state’s regulation in May 2018.

The DABT responded by issuing a declaratory statement granting out-of-state retailers the right to ship into Florida beginning in August 2018. But the decision was appealed by several local wholesaler and distributor associations. The matter was put to rest in a final statement in favor of Kahn’s in June 2019.

This latest development adds Florida to the list of states that allow out-of-state direct-to-consumer retailer shipping, which now includes 15 states and Washington, D.C. In June, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation that allowed out-of-state retailers to ship directly to that state’s residents. Under the law, retailers can send a maximum of 2 cases of wine to one individual in a two-month period. The law went into effect July 1.

Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers, says he doesn’t expect any more legislation to pass this year. “It’s too late in the legislative season and most are already out of session,” he told Wine Spectator. “Next year, I expect a push for legislation in New York, Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey.” Multiple shipping battles are being fought in court, however. Wine Spectator has more.—Emma Balter

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