Pennsylvania House Bill 189, sponsored by Representative Curt Sonney, passed the house this week by a vote of 192 to 1. The bill allows a state resident to order wine and have it delivered direct to their home, but the winery must:
- Obtain a $100 “direct shipper” license from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
- Have verified the age of the buyer in a manner approved by the PLCB.
- Agree to collect the state’s 6 percent sales tax and the separate 18 percent tax on liquor, and forward those Pennsylvania tax collections to the state on a quarterly basis.
- Clearly label the shipped packages as containing alcohol, and have it signed for by someone who is 21 or over.
The bill allows orders from out-of-state wineries, but does not include orders from out-of-state retailers. Wineries outside the USA are not pleased since their only direct route to PA consumers is through the state store system instead of allowing them to choose home delivery of international wines from retailers outside the state.
The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) said:
America’s wine retailers, not wineries, are consumers’ only source of French, German, Spanish, Italian as well as all other imported, including Australian, New Zealand, Chilean, Argentinean, Canadian and South African wines. Banning out-of-state retailers from shipping into Pennsylvania while only allowing domestic wineries to ship is not only a slap in the face to American retailers, but represents a complete and total disregard for Pennsylvania consumers who expect the long awaited direct wine shipping rights to give them access to all wines—Not just those made in North America.
According to an article on Pennlive, this bill, as originally drafted, did not exclude out of state retailers, but the provision was added before the vote took place.
The antiquated system of liquor sales in the state is long overdue for an overhaul, but whether HB 189 is a step in the right direction or foot dragging by the state government is still open to debate. The bill now heads to the state senate.