For Immediate Release December 11, 2015

NAWR Calls for Changes to Delaware Direct Shipping Bill

—National Association of Wine Retailers Issue Statement
on Rep. Deborah Hudson’s HB 134—

(Dover, DE)—In a statement today the National Association of Wine Retailers’ Executive Director Tom Wark reiterated NAWR’s opposition to Representative Deborah Hudson’s HB 134, a direct wine shipping bill that would severely restrict consumer access to wine as currently written and asked Representative Hudson to make good on her own statements concerning Delaware consumers’ access to wine.

“The direct wine shipping bill, HB 134, currently sitting in the House Economic Development Committee ought to stay there until it is amended to adhere to Representative Hudson’s own declaration that wines not available to Delaware consumers should be made available. In a recent statement Representative Hudson said:

“ ‘Retailers claim they can acquire wines that their customers request, but the vast majority of them–more than 7,000 wineries the U.S.–are not handled by a distributor, so products of many of these small businesses cannot be purchased by Delawareans under the current system.’
WDEL 101.7 — December 9, 2015

“As currently written HB 134 would only allow shipment of wines from wineries in the United States, while prohibiting all shipments from U.S. wine retailers, wine stores, and auction houses. This prohibition written into the HB 134 means Delaware wine lovers would be restricted from having shipped any of the French, Italian, Spanish, Australian, German, Austrian, New Zealand, Argentine, Chilean, Canadian or any other imported wines now sold in the United States by its licensed retailers and frequently unavailable to Delaware consumers. This includes numerous kosher wines most commonly produced by foreign wineries and sold in the U.S. by retailers, not wineries. 

“Additionally, the restriction on retailer shipping into Delaware written into HB 134 would prohibit Delaware consumers from purchasing the thousands of rare, collectible and hard to find domestic wines only available at U.S. wine retailers and auction houses outside the state.

“If the goal of the direct wine shipping bill is to give consumers access to wines that, as Representative Hudson notes ‘cannot be purchased by Delaware consumers under the current system’, then all wines that cannot be purchased should be made accessible, including those that can only be purchased from wine retailers, wine stores and wine auction houses.

“The National Association of Wine Retailers urge Representative Hudson to sponsor an amendment to HB 134 that would allow Delaware consumers to have wine shipped to them from out-of-state retailers as well as out of state wineries

“Without such an amendment, Representative Hudson own rationale for sponsoring HB 134 is ignored and the state’s consumers end up with a half measure that deprives them of thousands of wines, discriminates against an entire category of wines, promotes a black market in those wines not allowed into the state and is likely unconstitutional. With a simple amandment, Representative Hudson’s wine shipping bill could be model legislation.”

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Tom Wark, Executive Director
National Association of Wine Retailers
707-266-1449 • [email protected]