TRENTON – Legislation Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Senator Brian Stack sponsored to allow New Jersey consumers to receive direct shipments from wineries today passed the Senate.
The Senators said lifting the direct-shipping ban would not only be beneficial to consumers, but would also be a boon to the state’s emerging wine industry, as many small wineries only have their products available for sale in a limited number of stores or on-site.
“Allowing direct shipments of wine to and from New Jersey will not only enhance consumer choice, but would provide essential inroads for our budding wine industry,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “With our wineries producing better and better wines and winning prestigious awards, we should be expanding, not limiting, access to New Jersey wines.”
If enacted, New Jersey would join thirty-five other states that currently have direct-shipping laws on the books.
The bill, S-766, would authorize the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission to issue direct-shipping licenses to holders of either a New Jersey plenary winery license with retail privileges or a New Jersey farm winery license. Out-of-state shippers also would be allowed to receive a shipping license, with the stipulation that they provide the Division of Taxation payment for any excise and sales taxes due and an annual report noting quantity and type of alcoholic beverages shipped to New Jersey consumers.
“New Jersey consumers should not have to be limited only to what’s in stock at their local wine store, nor should they have to drive half-way across the state to get a quality New Jersey wine,” said Stack, D-Hudson. “Likewise, out-of-state visitors who try New Jersey wines and want to purchase them shouldn’t be shut out. It’s time we give consumers and vintners the ability to deal directly with each other.”
New Jersey is the sixth-largest wine producing state in the country. New Jersey wines also have won an increasing number of national and international awards.
The measure, which passed 29-5, now heads to the Assembly for further consideration.