Bill Loophole Still Bans Consumer Access to Thousands of Wines

Well, this is bittersweet. It's like going to a wine bar for their 2-for-1 Tuesdays only to realize your favorite bottles are not included.

What are we talking about?

The Sweet: The recently approved Massachusetts budget will allow out-of-state wineries to ship their wines — albeit a limited amount — directly to customers in Massachusetts. That being said (or written), customers will be limited to 12 cases per year, per winery, and these wineries will need permits. Massachussetts legislature has taken its, er, sweet time on compliance with a 2005 Supreme Court decision that effectively diminished individual states' power to ban wineries from shipping to customers.

The Bitter: While this is undoubtedly progress, according to a release by Tom Wark, the Executive Director of American Wine Consumer Coalition, the budget will continue the ban on hundreds of thousands of wines into the state. This affects wines whose only stateside sources are wine retailers and wine stores — as opposed to other distributors — as under this new law, these retailers and stores are refuted the right to ship into the state. “We understand that a small cup of water for the parched is better than no water at all, however there is no reason why the legislature could not have provided the state’s consumers with a full glass of water, or wine, rather than choosing to unnecessarily protect special interests,” says Wark.

The wines listed below are among those not approved:

  • French Champagne
  • French Bordeaux
  • French Sauterne
  • French Red Burgundy
  • French White Burgundy
  • French Rhone Wines
  • French Loire Wines
  • French Alsatian Wines
  • French Rose From Provence
  • All other French Wines
  • German Rieslings
  • All Other German Wines
  • Spanish Rioja Wines
  • All Other Spanish Wines
  • Vintage Port From Portugal
  • Barolo From Italy
  • Barbaresco From Italy
  • All Other Italian Wines
  • Austrian Riesling
  • Austrian Gruner Veltliner
  • All Other Austrian Wines
  • Australian Shiraz
  • Australian Barossa Valley Wines
  • Australian Clare Valley Wines
  • Australian Eden Valley Wines
  • Australian Adelaide Hills Wines
  • All Other Australian Wines
  • New Zealand Pinot Noirs
  • New Zealand Chardonnays
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs
  • All Other New Zealand Wines
  • South African Pinotage
  • All Other South African Wines
  • Chilean Merlot
  • Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
  • All Other Chilean Wines
  • Argentine Malbec
  • Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon
  • All Other Argentine Wines
  • Uruguayan Tannat
  • All Other Uruguayan wines
  • Canadian Ice Wine
  • British Columbian Wines
  • All Other Canadian Wines
  • All Greek Wines
  • All Other Wines Sold, But Not Produced, in the United States

In addition:

  • The vast majority of rare and collectible American wines most often sold at auction houses and wine retailers
  • The vast majority of non-American (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, etc) collectible and investment grade wines that are almost always sold by retailers and auction houses.
  • Wine-of-the-Month Club Memberships
  • Wines sold as parts of Gift Baskets
  • The vast majority of Kosher wines