April 18th, 2006
Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich is expected to sign into law a bill that would allow in-state and out-of-state wineries to sell directly to retailers. Senate Bill 812 would allow any licensed U.S. winery that produces less than 27,500 gallons to self distribute to Maryland restaurants and retailers.
This bill does not improve the situation in Maryland. Although it is being advertised as a “compromise” between Maryland wineries and wholesalers, it is basically par for the course. The only change is that now out-of-state small farm wineries can self distribute to Maryland retailers. Direct to consumer shipments will remain prohibited.
Score one for the wholesalers, who got their way at the expense of Maryland consumers.