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Sweeney Bill To Expand And Aid State Wineries Now Law

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester/ Cumberland/Salem) that will stimulate the growth of the state’s winery business by allowing small in-state producers to directly ship wine to customers across the country has been signed into law.

Many of the state’s 50 wineries are located in rural areas and do not produce enough wine per year to have relationships with wholesalers, making their retail outlets and tasting rooms, as well as a few wine festivals held throughout the year, the only way for consumers to purchase their products. New Jersey’s ban on direct shipping has caused the state’s wine industry to be uncompetitive with other wineries, and suffer a significant loss of potential business.

“This is a great day for the New Jersey wine industry and for our economy in general. New Jersey’s wines are now considered among some the best in the nation, but rules and regulations had suffocated the industry for far too long. That will all now change. Most importantly, this will spur the kind of economic growth we sorely need in the state right now,” said Sweeney.

The new law allows direct shipping of wine to residents from wineries that produce 250,000 gallons or less of per year. Additionally, the new law levels the playing field by allowing both in-state and out-of-state small wineries to operate outlets in New Jersey. That move would remedy a Federal appellate court decision last December which found the retail outlets and tasting rooms operated by New Jersey wineries to be unconstitutional, as state law precluded out-of-state wineries from operating such facilities.

New Jersey is currently ranked seventh in the nation for total wine production.