Matthew Mann
June 2, 2008 | Compliance | Matthew Mann

Illinois Now, Georgia Next, Wisconsin Down The Road

Changes to direct shipping law feels a little bit like following the Democratic presidential nomination process. Every time you turn around it’s off to a new state, criss-crossing the U.S., trying to keep up with the shifting landscape. If you follow this type of thing, as you most surely know by now, Illinois officially switched to a permit system on Sunday, June 1st. I won’t hit you with all the details because they are available now at REthink Compliance. Just be aware that as of yesterday a licensed winery needs a permit costing from $150 and up (based on production, of course) to ship into this former reciprocal state. Perhaps of equal importance, the new law permits small (25,000 gallons) wineries to self-distribute to retailers in the state. Inertia’s Direct-to-Trade program is now available to one of the highest per capita consumption states.

As with the primaries, once a state is in the rear view mirror, it’s time to move on. So next stop is Georgia, which recently made changes to its existing permit law that removes restrictions and allows more wineries to ship direct to it’s residents. There are two key changes that take effect July 1, 2008. First, a winery with an existing distributor relationship in Georgia is now allowed to acquire a direct shipper permit. This is good news for medium to larger wineries who previously were shut out of direct shipping to Georgia because of their distributor relationship in the state. Second, the per customer volume cap has been increased from 5 to 12 cases per year. Those Georgia residents who want to join a higher level wine club (6-bottle and 12-bottle) can do so without fear of exceeding the limit.

Moving down the road to the fall, we have Wisconsin, which switches from reciprocity to a new permit system on October 1, 2008. Pretty basic stuff with this one: $100 annual fee, 108 liter (12 cases) per customer limit, and no production capacity caps. It should be noted the per customer limit is from ALL wineries shipping to the state but is the responsibility of the customer, not the winery as in Massachusetts.

The movement of states to well-considered permit systems is a positive for the wine industry. I stress this nearly every time I blog but winery adherence to these systems encourages the spread of direct to consumer shipping into states previously closed to such shipments. Permit systems have created access to approximately 80% of the U.S. market, much higher than the days of reciprocity, when most of the U.S. was closed. Of course, as with all permit systems, these changes come with the usual reporting and payment of sales and excise taxes, delivery restrictions, and shipping label requirements. REthink Compliance is available to help with these and all of the reporting requirements for state’s permitting direct to consumer shipping. As the laws change, so will REthink Compliance, staying current as the source for direct shipping developments today and down the road.



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