Indiana may be a winning team going into the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament that begins on March 19, 2013, but the madness that dominates Indiana alcohol regulations is certainly not entertaining for the wine lover.
Back in 2006, Indiana Governor Daniels signed into law, the following legislation about shipping wine direct to consumers:
- The customer must have made a face-to-face transaction on the winery premises (on-site). This on-site visit stipulation was originally struck down by the courts, but then reinstated on appeal. The law severely limits off-site sales.
- Only wineries that have not had a relationship with a distributor for the preceding 120 days are eligible to ship to consumers. This stipulation means that only those wineries that do not have a wholesaler relationship may ship. This cuts off a huge portion of the wine in the national market because three states (actually accounting for 90% of non-carbonated wine sales) automatically give wholesaling privileges to their wineries.
- The wine is subject not only to a sales tax of 7%, but an additional excise tax of $0.49/per gallon.
- With a 24 case limit per household per year and a 3,000 case limit into the state on behalf of the winery, the state effectively limits the consumer base of any given winery in Indiana to a mere 125 customers.
What’s confusing is that the law states that a given household cannot receive more than 24 cases of wine each year from any winery. Yet each winery has no way of knowing how many cases the customer has already received.
The law certainly frustrates interstate commerce by making it cumbersome for consumers to receive shipments from wineries based outside Indiana. (Indiana has very few wineries.) And yet, without the ability to ship wines within the state, Indiana businesses are essentially prohibited from expanding outside of urban areas with their shipments. Laws actually hurt in-state wineries too!
The fact that you have to physically visit the winery to have wine shipped to your home is absurd, protectionist and downright anti-business. It makes no sense. It’s madness! Not just march madness, it’s madness 365 days a year. That’s the wholesalers lobby at work once again.
What Can You do as a Wine Lover?
We need your consumer voice in so many states to stop this madness in the legislature. Visit www.freethegrapes.com to sign up for their informative Enewsletter and learn about the regulations in your state and the states where you ship wine. Stay connected to the action on Facebook.
Why We Care?
The Traveling Vineyard creates local jobs and generates local and state tax revenues in every state we direct ship to. Our local Independent Wine Consultants market Traveling Vineyard wines through our innovative free home wine tasting program. Introducing our winery products to residents using local residents in each state. Our Independent Consultants love their home based business marketing wines. We only wish that we could put good people to work in Indiana like we do in 33 other states.