Arizona enacted a new law on March 31st which will greatly expand direct-to-consumer wine shipping. Currently, only wineries producing 20,000 gallons (8,412 cases) or less can ship wine directly to Arizona consumers, unless the consumer was present at the winery when the wine was purchased. Wine Institute, with strong support from the Arizona Winegrowers Association, Arizona consumers (organized by Free the Grapes!) and free market advocates, was successful in passing SB 1381 – removing the winery visitation requirement and opening shipping to wineries of all sizes. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1381 yesterday afternoon.
The new law provides for limited, regulated, tax-paid wine shipping by wineries in the United States that obtain a license from the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. The Department is required to begin issuing licenses no later than Jan. 1, 2017. Wineries impacted by the new law may begin making shipments when they receive one of the new licenses from the DLLC. The amount of wine that can be shipped per person, per winery, per year, is phased in over three years: 6 cases through 2017; 9 cases in 2018; and 12 cases beginning in 2019 and thereafter. The law includes safeguards to prevent wine being shipped to minors.
Wine Institute is grateful to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), who worked tirelessly to make this effort successful. Arizona is ranked 14th in wine consumption nationally, making this a big win for Arizona wine consumers and the 1,000 U.S. wineries producing more than 20,000 gallons per year.