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Arizona Prepares to “Free the Grapes” with Wine Reform

March 15, 2016 Hastings and Hastings

In 2014, over 225 million cases of wine were made from Californiaequalling a total estimated retail value of $24.6 billion, an increase of 4.4 percent from 2013. One thing is for sure, the wine industry is massive, both on a local, national, and international level. There is a lot of interest in buying wine, and there is a lot of money to be made. However, Arizona is on the outside, looking enviously in at this vibrant wine economy.

Currently, laws limit the ability of consumers to purchase wine online and have it shipped directly to their home. If you want to order a case of wine online, you are required first to visit the vineyard in person. It doesn’t matter If this vineyard is in Northern California or any other state in the nation. You are legal obliged to make an appearance there before ordering!

This places a rather large hindrance in front of Arizonians who would like to order wine online. In fact, it makes it nearly impossible.

A recently proposed bill (SB1281) referred to as the “Free the Grapes” bill has been introduced by Arizona State Senator Nancy Barto. It proposes to remove the penalties currently in place which inhibit the shipment of wine.

In respects to the bill, former mayor of Phoenix Skip Rimsza has said, “Arizona citizens deserve the same buying power and choices as residents of other states. More than 40 states already allow legal direct shipment of wine from wineries to consumers. Arizona’s law is part of the past and to bring us up to date and ready for the future.”

The decision will fall to Arizona voters. Those in favor of changing the current restrictions can vote “yes” on SB1281, those in favor of maintaining the status quo may vote “no.”