Jan 12, 2023 - Food and Drink

Shipping wine to your home could become easier

Illustration of wine corks with parachutes.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

If you fall in love with a particular Chardonnay at a tasting at an out-of-state winery, you can get those bottles shipped back to Washington. But find something you like at a wine shop in another state? No such luck.

What's happening: A new bill in Washington's Legislature proposes allowing retail wine stores in other states to ship directly to Washington residents, just like out-of-state wineries can.

Why it matters: Sometimes a rare bottle is only available at a far-flung specialty retailer — but you can't get it sent to you here, because state law won't allow it.

What they're saying: "People have an appreciation for different wines and different products, and I just want to make sure folks here have that access," said state Sen. Shelly Short (R-Addy), who is sponsoring the bill.

  • She said she doesn't think the plan would hurt Washington wine businesses because customers would most likely choose out-of-state shipping — which can be costly — only if they can't find what they're looking for locally.

Yes, but: Wine distributor associations oppose the bill, saying it doesn't do enough to ensure out-of-state retailers would pay the mandatory Washington taxes.

  • The groups also questioned whether delivery drivers would reliably complete the bill's required ID checks, which they said could lead to more wine being left on doorsteps in easy reach of minors.
  • "This bill has no enforcement mechanisms to make sure shippers are complying with the laws," Vicki Christophersen, lobbyist for the Association of Washington Spirits and Wine Distributors, said during a public hearing Monday.

The bottom line: if you're into wine, you might want to follow this bill's progress.

  • If it passes, it could mean you can finally order that case you've been unable to get your hands on — or at least, make it easier to expand your collection.

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