Thursday, April 18, 2013

Drew Bledsoe: the Face of Massachusetts Wine Reform?

Former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe, was recently back in the news for completely different reasons. This past March, he visited the State House to lobby for wine shipment reform in Massachusetts.

Bledsoe, who owns a winery in Washington State, feels that the State's current laws, M.G.L. c.138, s.19F, prohibiting sales of direct mail order wine, are unnecessary and constrain business.  There are thirty-nine states which currently allow the shipment of wine with various regulations in place. Many Massachusetts consumers agree with Bledsoe, along with other vintners, that Massachusetts should be the next State in the growing number.

In 2010, an appeal was filed by the State of Massachusetts for the Federal case, Family Winemakers of California (FWC) v. Jenkins, 592 F. 3d 1, after the District Court ruled that banning personal shipments of wine was unconstitutional in 2008.  The Appeals Court reaffirmed the decision, making room for a possible change in Massachusetts wine laws.
Bill H. 294, would allow wine shipments, provided that several regulations are followed. To learn more about the cause, visit the Free the Grapes website, which is devoted to legalizing winery-to-consumer wine shipments in all 50 States.