Capitol Wire: Winery bill criticized in House committee hearing

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste.

HARRISBURG (June 19) – A proposal to bring Pennsylvania law on wine deliveries in line with a court ruling would mean “a total disruption” of the state’s liquor control system, one witness told the House Liquor Control Committee Thursday.

House Bill 2165 would make Pennsylvania law compliant with a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that forbids states from prohibiting out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to consumers if in-state wineries are able to do so.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, would require all limited wineries, both those operating within and outside the commonwealth, to ship wine to consumers through the state store system. From there, the product could be shipped by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board directly to homes or businesses.

Currently, out-of-state wineries must receive a license to ship products into Pennsylvania to be sold at state stores. Out-of-state wineries that produce less than 200,000 gallons annually can receive a license to ship directly to consumers, but only one has done so, California winery Kistler Vineyards, said Lynn Benka-Davies, the executive director of the House Liquor Control Committee.

Without the bill, in-state wineries benefit from being able to ship directly to consumers with nothing more than quarterly reports to the LCB.

Pay to subscribe on Capitol Wire to read the rest. Image courtesy Sanford Winery.