The Massachusetts House and Senate overrode a veto by Governor Milt Romney , writing into law a bill that will allow small farm wineries that produce less than 30,00 gallons per year to ship directly to consumers. It also allows residents to take home bottles of wine purchased at restaurants if the restaurant re-corks the bottle.
This ruling will likely face a court challenge from consumer and industry groups because it treats small wineries differently than medium and large wineries.
Do these “small farm winery” bills make sense? With these new rules, states are treating out-of-state wineries and in-state wineries evenly and are technically probably compliant with Granholm, but different sized wineries now get separate sets of rules. This doesn’t seem sustainable.
Part of the argument for small farm bills is that the small wineries can not afford the three-tier distribution system. This is true, but it’s not the point. MA is now protecting both small wineries and distributors when they should instead let the market forces play out. This will lead to more choices for consumers as well as lower prices.