Direct Wine Shipments

Recently, I’ve received a number of emails in the form further below.

My reply is yes. I do support direct wine shipment. I don’t see a valid reason to restrain this dimension of trade. It is highly unlikely to be the preferred way for some underage person to get access to alcohol.

I have long supported this and have been baffled by our failure to get it done.


As an adult voter in Massachusetts and the owner of a wine and malt beverage wholesale business here in the Commonwealth, I urge you to support winery-to-consumer direct shipping, which would allow wine lovers like me to purchase a limited amount of wine directly from wineries licensed by our state to ship. I do not fear competition from out-of-state wineries shipping directly to consumers as it will expand the information and therefore adult consumer interest in high quality wine products. This supports both small businesses outside and within the Commonwealth, as large conglomerates focus on a relatively small number of large production, uninteresting wine products. Only small businesses, whether a winery, a wholesaler (my company), or a package store can service the needs of discerning consumers and offer them the acceptable consumer choice.

The model direct shipping bill is being used successfully by the majority of U.S. states. It requires wineries to purchase a state-issued shipping license, to mark boxes as requiring signature at delivery, to pay taxes, and to limit the quantity of wine shipped to individuals. The bill is a proven solution that remedies the current statute which was ruled unconstitutional by the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals three years ago.

Other states have found that similar laws provide tax revenues and do not hurt local wholesalers and retailers. The direct shipping programs of Virginia and New York created $3 million and $4.5 million in annual state tax revenues, respectively. The December report by the Maryland
Comptroller noted that wholesale-to-retail business actually increased 3.6% the year following implementation of their statute.

Massachusetts is the largest state for wine enjoyment that continues an archaic ban on wine direct shipping, and excludes 98% of US wine from direct purchase. Consumers like me, not the influential wholesalers or retailers, should determine which wines we can enjoy and how we purchase them.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.