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Matthew Mann
 
February 6, 2015 | Compliance | Matthew Mann

Bostonians are drinking wine, not tea! Is it from your winery?

You probably won’t get a signal from the Old North Church, but maybe you’ve heard this already – after years of doubt and uncertainty, it’s now legal to ship wine direct to consumers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  While Paul Revere didn’t deliver the news, I still think it’s a pretty big deal, and I suspect most of those folks who’ve had their ear to the ground of the DTC liberation movement would agree.

It’s a Revolution

Massachusetts is a highly desirable state for direct shipments of wine.  I’ll spare you all of the demographic, economic, and per capita consumption data.  It’s been out in the blogosphere quite a bit lately so if you want to see it a web search should track it down without any difficulty.  Suffice it to say the reason you’ve probably heard about the shipping law that took effect on January 1st of this year is because it’s pretty revolutionary to a lot of people like me who think it’s an important milestone on the road to freedom for the direct shipment of wine to consumers in every state.

That’s important to me and the wine industry overall.  It’s also important to the denizens of Massachusetts.  They like wine, drink wine, and most importantly, buy wine.  Prior to January 1st, unless you had extensive wholesale distribution in the state, these thirsty Minutemen probably weren’t buying your wine.  Now they can.

So why aren’t they?  Is it because you have yet to apply for a direct shipper license to Massachusetts?

It’s remarkably simple.  In fact, considering all of the legal challenges, protectionist constituencies, and political wrangling over the decade of efforts to change the law to allow direct shipments, the new Massachusetts direct shipping law is one of the cleanest, easiest, and most straightforward DTC laws yet written in any state.

Representation…With Little Taxation

For a $300 initial fee, and $150 per year thereafter, you get representation before the people of the 4th largest state in per capita wine consumption.  Better still, total wine shipments are expected to grow tremendously over the course of the next decade.  You don’t even have to collect sales taxes!  All that’s required is to file a monthly report of shipments and pay excise taxes on those shipments.  No brand registration, no age verification service, and no production cap required for eligibility.  Large and small wineries are all welcome to apply.

Selling your wine DTC to Massachusetts’ consumers will validate all of the efforts of the last 10 years to make these shipments legal.  More importantly, it will expose your wine to new consumers in a sophisticated wine market while also allowing you to finally sign up to your wine club all of those tasting room visitors from the Bay State that you’ve previously had to politely decline, much to the delight of every Bostonian.  Most of all, it will benefit your brand awareness and your bottom line, much to the delight of, well…you.

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