On November 19, Terri Beirne, Wine Institute’s Eastern Counsel, met with the Virginia ABC Board, their Director, and representatives of Wine America and the Virginia wineries to continue discussions about the July Circular Letter 09-05 prohibiting direct shippers from using any third party service providers. Despite earlier indications, the Board has no plans to issue additional circulars on this issue. They suggested that a statutory change is essential to reinstate use of pick and pack/fulfillment warehouse and other third party service providers by Virginia licensees. They also offered to work with industry to craft legislation for the 2010 Virginia General Assembly Session which starts on 1/13/10 and concludes on 3/13/10.
However, the VA ABC offered two interim solutions for Wine Institute members until the law can be changed. Nothing in Virginia law currently prevents direct shipper licensees from obtaining two (2) direct shipper licenses with two different addresses, even though a second location is not owned or controlled by the licensee. Therefore, if a winery sends wine from BOTH their tasting room and a fulfillment warehouse, it can keep a current direct shipper license intact and secure a second one with the address of their fulfillment facility, from where wine can also be shipped. The Virginia direct shipper license application fee is $65 and the annual license fee is $65. Separate tax payments and reports associated with each licenses would have to be filed.
Additionally, if the winery sends ALL wine shipments into Virginia from a pick and pack warehouse with NO shipments originating in their tasting room, the winery’s Virginia direct shippers license could be changed to list the address of the warehouse from which ALL wine will be shipped. Wineries may make such an amendment to a current license by sending a letter on winery letterhead explaining the reason for the change and including the old and new addresses to Dallas “Burnie” Gaskill, VA ABC Licensing Technician at P.O. Box 1597, Spotsylvania, VA 22553-1597. Burnie can be reached by phone at (540) 538-7838 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Such letter MUST include a copy of the state license issued to the warehouse making shipments on the winery’s behalf. The letter must also contain an e-mail address for the winery, where the amended license will be sent in an electronic format.
Members can contact Annie Bones at email@example.com or at (415) 356-7530 with additional questions. Terri would also be pleased to talk more about this situation and can be reached at (804) 301-5505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Terri Cofer Beirne, Eastern Counsel, Wine Institute