Florida state lawmakers will move one step closer this week to allowing wine to be ordered over the Internet and shipped directly to your home, but not everyone is happy with the coming change.
Over the last 25 years, Ray Bye has amassed a thousand-bottle wine collection. The FSU vice president is looking forward to a change in the law that will let him ship wine into the state.
“When we are out west, we’ll often times be in a vineyard and want to ship a case of wine back to Florida, and the vineyard operator will often say ‘we don’t ship to Florida.’”
Under legislation being considered, out of state wineries must register, pay a hundred dollar fee and agree to pay state alcoholic beverage taxes if they want to ship wine into Florida.
Beverage wholesalers hate the idea. It cut them out of the loop and lets retail stores buy directly from vineyards.
Some connoisseurs suggest buying wine online is like buying shoes online, you just don’t know how they are going to fit, but the change is coming anyway. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the ban on out of state shipments violates the Constitution.
Wine retailer Bob Gorman thinks the change will help everyone.
“I don’t feel threatened at all. I feel it’s an opportunity for, as I said before, the small mom and pop wineries that don’t make enough wine to interest any of the wholesale distributors to now have an outlet.”
Shippers that don’t verify the recipient is at least 21 could be guilty of a felony.
The legislation has the backing of Gov. Jeb Bush, but don’t start ordering online just yet. It will likely be July before the change in the law takes effect.