Free the Grapes urges Alabama lawmakers to allow wine shipments

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Alabama is one of only six states with a ban on winery-to-consumer direct shipments. But proposed legislation would, if passed, allow adult consumers in Alabama to purchase a limited amount of wine directly from wineries licensed by the state to ship.

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development is scheduled to consider SB243, sponsored by Madison-Republican State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, the bill would allow licensed wine manufacturers to ship wine directly to Alabama consumers.

As introduced, the bill would limit the amount of wine that a producer could ship to any individual at 24 cases per year, each case not exceeding nine liters of wine, and would require the purchaser be verified to be 21 years of age.

shackles-webFree the Grapes!, an advocacy and consumer outreach nonprofit is urging Alabamians to write the lawmakers ahead of Wednesday’s committee meeting.

“The time has come for Alabamians to access the wines they want,” said Jeremy Benson, executive director of Free the Grapes!, the national movement of consumers, wineries and retailers seeking to expand consumer choice in wine with legal, regulated direct to consumer shipments. “We believe consumers should determine which wines they can enjoy and how they purchase them. Senate Bill 243 will give Alabama’s wine lovers that privilege.”

“Don’t believe the scare tactics presented by opponents,” Benson continued. “No state has rescinded its direct shipping laws based on non-compliance, underage access, or loss of jobs. Senate Bill 243 is a beneficial bill for the state of Alabama and a win for consumer choice.”

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