Friday, February 20, 2009

Shipping debate resumes in Maryland

All of what has appeared on this blog regarding the legislation in Maryland to create a shipping bill that got under way Wednesday in Annapolis has been fAdd Imagerom the side of the state's wineries. While the wineries association hasn't introduced the measure, it certainly supports it.

Maryland wineries are not allowed to ship wines directly to consumer; rather, there's a three-tier system set up that forces the delivered goods to be sent through a wholesaler and retailer, where the consumer would then pick up their wine.

Kevin Atticks, executive director of the winery association, said by phone last week that the current setup is broken. "There’s never been an example of that actually working," he said of the three-tier system. "If somebody wants a hard-to-come by wine, we found that wholesalers and retailers who have to agree to that system don’t, so the wine never actually makes it anyway. That was set up as a compromise years ago . . ."

Still, while the bill to change the system comes back up for discussion every year, it remains enforced. "That’s a bill that’s vehemently opposed by the liquor interests and, my god, if we even see them on the street they start yelling at us about it," Atticks said. "It’s not our legislation. I mean we support it but we’re not behind it. It’s a consumer group, but the liquor interests are so upset about it and that can only tell me that it’s getting closer to passage. Usually, they don’t even respond to it, but now they’l really upset about it and it’s the same bill that has been in for 20 years . . . so the only thing that's diferent is it's chances."

So how does the Wholesale, Retails Associations of Maryland articulate it's resistence to the legislation, called State Bill 338 and House Bill 1262? Click on this above letter sent Monday to the Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, president of the state Senate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow…after attending the testimony this past Monday, I never cease to be amazed! The opponents to this bill continue to bring up illogical arguments. It seems evident that people are afraid to shake up the three tier system…a system that is currently limiting the rights of consumers. At one point, one of the opponents even said that we need to keep the process of shipping wine “in the hands of responsible people”…thats not saying much for the citizens of Maryland…in fact, its quite insulting. I think its time to really show our legislators how we feel…this is a consumer issue and we consumers need to be a presence in order to make an impact on this bill!