Those Crazy Wine Regulations: Indiana
Written by Rick on March 19, 2013
****UPDATE June 15, 2015****
We are pleased to inform our Indiana wine lovers that Senate Bill 113, a partial “fix-it” bill, was signed by Governor Pence and goes into effect July 1, 2015. It is a partial “fix-it” bill in our opinion since the powerful special interest groups (i.e. wholesalers and retailers) are up to their old monopolistic and protectionist tricks once again. They were able to secure language in the amendment that caps the amount of wine a winery can ship into the state at 45,000 liters. For real? From our perspective this looks like penalizing any one winery for being successful! What a shame. We thought America loved success stories. I guess not in Indiana.
Having said that, there is some good news in this new legislation. The bill removes some serious impediments to wine lovers like you. SB 113 removes the current provision that consumers must first visit a winery before any wine can be shipped by that winery. The amendment also removes the “affidavit” requirement requiring a winery to first obtain a signed statement affirming that the consumer is 21 or older at the point of sale. Unfortunately, the bill does not remove Indiana’s exclusion prohibiting a winery from direct shipping if they have a relationship with a state wholesaler; hopefully that archaic requirement will get eliminated in the future.
As always, we appreciate your active support; without your letters, SB 113 would not have passed. Together we can replace these archaic and needless restrictions on direct shipping, improving convenience and choice in wine.
******Original Post Follows*******
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.