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The Return of the Florida Wine Shipping Bill

Wineries and consumers have enjoyed relatively unrestricted wine shipping into Florida since 2006. This could change if direct shipping legislation is passed this year. Florida is gearing up for another legislative session and direct wine shipment legislation is on the docket, once again. The Florida Senate’s regular session will convene on March 3rd, but an agreeable bill relating to direct wine shipments has already been filed with the Florida Senate. SB 0272, authored by Senator Paula Dockery, would allow for the direct shipment of wine by permitted wineries; retailers are not addressed in this bill. The bill is reportedly based off of the wine industry’s “model” direct shipping bill, which allows wineries to ship to residents with reasonable restrictions. This means 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 legislative sessions begin. According to the Family Winemakers of California, “Wholesalers have been meeting, but there [is] no word yet on their approach to the 2009 session. Based on the past three years it isn’t unreasonable to expect them to oppose the bills supported by the wine industry and attempt to impose a production cap despite FWC’s recent court victory in Massachusetts.”

Some of the requirements that would be set forth if SB 0272 makes its way into law include: $100 annual fee, bond, per bottle volume limit, age verification, special shipping label, monthly reporting, excise tax, and sales tax (local taxes apply).

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