Untangling the complex world of wine direct shipping and compliance
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Florida escapes capacity cap at the wire

May 4th, 2008
By Jeff Carroll - VP of Compliance, ShipCompliant

It came down to the wire, but the always heated battle in Florida ended with the legislative session closing on Friday with no bills making it out of the state congress. Multiple bills were considered for wine direct shipping, most of which included a “capacity cap” on annual production for wine shippers. The major winery associations opposed all bills that included a capacity cap, and were therefore mostly pleased when the final bell rang without the passage of a restrictive bill. This was a truly classic battle between winery associations and the powerful wine wholesaler lobby.

Lacking legislation that would have created a permit system, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) will likely maintain the status quo, meaning that wineries can ship to Florida without a permit as long as they remit excise taxes and do not ship to dry counties.

The scene at the Direct to Consumer Symposium in Napa on Friday was very interesting. Many attendees were listening to the “state of the states” update on direct shipping legislation, while we simultaneously received updates on the status of the session in Florida. Much of the two day event covered the subject of capacity caps, which have become an extremely hot topic of late. The Family Winemakers of California are currently making their case against the State of Massachusetts that production caps are unconstitutional. The action heats up again at the end of July.

2 Responses to “Florida escapes capacity cap at the wire”

  1. [...] that there are no proposed production volume caps (unlike the bills that were being considered last year). However, it is still possible that competing direct shipping bills may be filed before the [...]

  2. [...] The streak continues. Once again Florida lawmakers were unable to pass any direct-to-consumer bills. Legislators presented two distinct direct-to-consumer bills for the 2009 legislative session but both have failed to advance beyond committee. Senate Bill 764 (House Bill 245 is its counterpart), the more restrictive of the two, would have required an annual $250 fee, a $1,000 to $5000 surety bond, a maximum production limit (capacity cap) of 250,000 gallons and a 12 case per year shipping limit. The bill survived three committee votes, but did not make it out of the General Government Appropriations committee. Senate Bill 272 (House Bill 251) would have placed no limits on production amounts or annual case shipments and the license and bond fees were much more wallet-friendly at $100 and $500 to $1000, respectively. Since neither of the bills passed by Friday, May 1, four consecutive legislative sessions have failed to produce direct shipping legislation. The Florida battle has probably been the most intense battle between winery and wholesaler associations over the years. [...]

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