Starting Aug. 1, 2021, wineries can ship wine directly to Alabama homes; Fulfillment center license created

Act No. 2021-419
by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur,
and Sens. J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills,
and Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro

Beginning Aug. 1, wineries can ship limited quantities of wine to Alabama homes, under Act No. 2021-419.

On May 13, 2021, the governor signed the new law, which has an effective date of Aug. 1.

The “worked-out” legislation by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, along with Sens. J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, and Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, cleared both chambers of the Alabama Legislature the last week of April.

Only wineries, not retailers, will be able to ship wine to homes, under the legislation the Senate passed April 29, Collins said. The House concurred in the changes later that day.

Separate legislation enacted earlier in the session would allow home delivery of sealed beer, wine and liquor by delivery services, breweries and distilleries, off-premise alcohol licensees and those with on-premise restaurant retail liquor licenses (only when delivered with meals). The alcohol delivery legislation is effective Oct. 1.

Act No. 2021-419 creates a direct wine shipper license that allows wine manufacturers, in state or outside of Alabama, to ship wine directly to Alabamians who are 21 or older. It also creates a wine fulfillment center license. Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator Mac Gipson said, “Alabama will be only the third state to require the licensing, reporting and oversight of fulfillment centers – an important tool in guarding against possible abuses.” The law allows up to 12 cases, or nine liters, of wine to be shipped to an Alabama home in the span of a year. The ABC Board has proposed rules related to the new law. See 20-X-6-.22. Comments are due July 2.

The application fee will be $200 with a $150 annual renewal fee for the direct wine shipper license. An annual $500 fee for the fulfillment center license, plus $100 for each premise from which shipments are made.

Besides the shipping provisions, the law sets conditions for franchise agreements between suppliers and wine wholesale distributors.

Waggoner and Singleton, who originally sponsored separate direct wine shipment legislation, contributed to and agreed to what eventually became law. Waggoner, chairman of a 2019 direct wine shipment task force, presented similar direct wine shipment legislation last year, two days before the first coronavirus case was reported in Alabama. It didn’t have time to be fully considered before the Legislature closed out its 2020 session.

Singleton and Collins presented companion bills in the 2020 and 2019 sessions that also would have allowed wine to be shipped directly to consumers.