New Jersey's plans to become the 39th US state to allow direct shipping have been delayed.
New Jersey law currently prohibits direct shipping from outside the state and there have been numerous efforts to alter the law since 2003.
The latest court ruling has given lawmakers more time to come to a resolution after failing to pass a bill earlier in the year that would have allowed wineries to keep their tasting rooms open and allow direct shipping both in and out of the state.
It is another blow for those campaigning for direct shipping in New Jersey but they hope there will be a resolution before March. Tom Consentino, spokesman for Uncork NJ, explained a ‘powerful lobby’ was preventing a direct shipping ruling.
‘Many New Jersey wineries are too small and do not produce enough product to sell directly through wholesalers. They need to be able to market their products directly to retail customers as the only way to sell their products,’ he told Decanter.com.
‘The New Jersey wineries can’t ship out of the state either, he added. ‘The state’s largest winery ships to China but it can’t ship across the bridge to New York or Maryland. It’s ludicrous.’
However Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Crayan opposes direct shipping, claiming it will have a negative impact on retail and wholesale outlets in New Jersey. In a statement, he said, ‘The three-tier system has led to 60,000 retail jobs in our state and if we were to allow direct shipping, those New Jersey jobs would potentially all but disappear.’
The state is not issuing alcohol licenses to new wineries until the matter is resolved, leaving at least 15 wineries unable to sell their wine.
There are currently around 50 licensed wineries in New Jersey and it is the seventh largest wine producing state in the US.
Written by Rebecca Gibb