Update: S3172 Passed the New Jersey State Senate on December 15 by a vote of 23-13.
On December 15, 2010 WineAmerica will present written testimony to the New Jersey State Senate in favor of S3172, which would allow direct-to-consumer shipment of wine. Below is the text of our testimony.
RE: S3172 (Sweeney) – Permits direct shipping by wineries and creates Out-of-State Winery license
WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, on behalf of our member wineries in New Jersey and across the nation, encourages you to vote yes on S3172, a bill that would permit New Jersey and out-of-state wineries to self-distribute their products, operate satellite tasting outlets, and ship wine directly to New Jersey consumers. WineAmerica is the only national winery trade association.
We support this bill because it secures local winery privileges threatened by the Third Circuit decision in Freeman v. Corzine, 629 F.3d 146 (3d Cir. 2010) while expanding opportunity for wineries throughout the United States. S3172 offers continuing support to the New Jersey wine industry’s progress, growth and prosperity, and removes an unhelpful cloud of uncertainty that has prevented New Jersey wineries from opening their doors. For more than a year, the looming Freeman decision has been a weight on the dynamic growth of the state’s wineries. S3172 will finally allow New Jersey winemakers to focus on what they do best—keep small farms viable and, through agri-tourism, build a new model for farm development.
We support S3172 because it reinforces existing winery privileges and expands opportunity for both in-state and out-of-state businesses in the form of direct-to-consumer shipping. While direct shipping capacity caps remain problematic, New Jersey wineries should be afforded the opportunity to operate efficiently and profitably and New Jersey’s citizens should be allowed the benefit of free access to the wines of their choice. We believe that S3172 promotes these aims, and respectfully request that you vote yes on this important bill.