Democrat introduces bill to make out-of-state wine sales possible
GRAND JUNCTION – Some out-of-state wine enthusiasts would be able to buy directly from their favorite Colorado vineyards under a bill moving through the state Legislature.Current law allows out-of-state residents to purchase wine directly from a Colorado vineyard only when visiting the business or while at a wine festival. Vintners say the law slows business to potential customers who live outside Colorado.Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, recently introduced legislation that would bring the state in line with a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which said states that permit in-state vintners to sell directly to consumers may not deny that right to out-of-state producers.The bill also would require out-of-state wineries to purchase a permit – at a cost of about $50 – to ship their wine to consumers in Colorado.House Bill 1120 cleared the House Finance Committee on a unanimous vote last week and moved to the House floor. Buescher said he didn’t expect any opposition.Last year, the Supreme Court struck down New York and Michigan laws, which required wineries from other states to sell through state-licensed wholesalers. Local wineries could sell to customers directly by phone and the Internet.The court said the laws created an unconstitutional trade barrier.According to the trade association WineAmerica, more than 3,500 wineries operate in the United States.