Direct wine shipment legislation ready for Senate consideration

Legislation that would allow direct shipment of wines to Alabama homes is ready for consideration by the full Senate. Wednesday, the Senate Tourism Committee unanimously approved SB138 by Sen. J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, putting it in line for Senate debate.

Waggoner, who serves as chairman of the committee that sets the Senate’s daily agenda, said he hopes to come to an agreement with Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, who also has direct wine shipment legislation (SB146) and others, so ultimately there will be “one direct shipment vehicle” to move through the legislative process. “We are not there yet,” Waggoner told the committee. Prior to the committee vote, Waggoner told Singleton he would not bring the bill to the Senate floor until he had spoken further with him.

Waggoner’s bill creates a direct wine shipper license that would allow wine to be shipped directly to consumers in Alabama by wineries that produce less than 50,000 gallons of wine each year and have a federal basic wine manufacturing permit. The license fee would be $250 for both in-state and out-of-state licensed wine manufacturers. The bill also allows a common carrier to ship wine at the direction of a direct wine shipper licensee. Each winery or manufacturer could ship up to 12, nine-liter cases of wine annually per household. Shipments would be limited to those 21 or older and shipping without a permit would be a Class C misdemeanor.

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 Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, presented companion bills in the 2020 and 2019 sessions that also would allow wine to be shipped directly to consumers.

Separate legislation that would allow the delivery of sealed beer, wine and liquor by delivery services, off-premise alcohol licensees and those with on-premise restaurant retail liquor licenses (only when delivered with meals) is also being considered during the 2021 session.

Wednesday, the Senate Tourism Committee also unanimously approved SB167, which would allow tastings and the sale of wine at authorized wine festivals. The same committee approved a similar bill in 2020, also by Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Centre. The bill limits festivals to five days and allows a customer or purchase one case of wine per festival for off-premise consumption.

A bill that would triple the number of entertainment districts allowed in the city of Birmingham is ready for Senate consideration. Currently, only five such districts are allowed. SB88 by Sen. Rodger M. Smitherman, D-Birmingham, would authorize 15. The Senate Tourism Committee approved the bill Wednesday, sending it to the full Senate.

This article is part of the Alabama Retail Report, a communication for Alabama Retail Association members. Not a member? Join us!

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