Wine Shipments Now Available in Maryland

-Comptroller Makes First Historic Purchase at Boordy Vineyards-

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (July 1, 2011) – Comptroller Peter Franchot marked his place in state history today making the first legal purchase of wine and having it shipped to his home. Beginning today, Marylanders can now have wine shipped to them and local wineries can ship their product to customers in the state.

Making his purchase at Boordy Vineyards in Hydes, Md., the Comptroller explained that the new law, passed in the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly, offers better consumer choice and aids wineries in reaching customers across the state. Prior to this legislation, Marylanders could only purchase wine from in-state retailers which frustrated many who couldn’t find their desired smaller boutique wines.

“I’m thrilled to have one of Maryland’s fabulous wines shipped to my home. The direct shipment law will give consumers across the state access to their favorite vintages and bolster the state’s blossoming wine industry,” Comptroller Franchot said.

During the session, the direct ship issue had strong support from many legislators including sponsors Senator Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery County; Del. Charles Barkley, D- Montgomery County; Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery County and Del. Jolene Ivey, D-Prince George’s County.

“Maryland consumers have taken a giant step forward. I thank the Comptroller for his strong advocacy and look forward to having him send me some wine to celebrate,” said Del. Ivey.

“This is a great day for Maryland wine lovers,” said Del. Hucker. “Finally, the General Assembly came together to stand up for consumers, and said no to the special interests that had limited consumer choice for decades.”

To be eligible to ship wine, wineries must apply for a permit, with an annual fee of $200, and secure a $1,000 bond. So far, 30 wineries have received permits to ship wine to Maryland consumers including 10 located in Maryland. More permit applications are expected in the coming months.

As the state’s regulator of alcohol products and as the chief fiscal officer of Maryland, the Comptroller has been a strong advocate of the state’s wineries. The Comptroller’s Direct Ship Report, released this past December, provided a data driven study that demonstrated how direct shipment would be beneficial to the state’s wineries and, based on the experiences of other states, would not harm Maryland retailers or lead to an increase in underage alcohol consumption.

“Today is a great day, as this law benefits consumers and allows our wineries to grow their businesses. We thank the Comptroller who sponsored this bill when he was a delegate and for his hard work as Comptroller. We also thank the General Assembly for its support and for passing this vital law,” said Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association.

MEDIA CONTACT: Joseph Shapiro (410) 260-7305, office (443) 871-2244, cell