Starting January 1, 2015 wineries, vineyards, and other wine manufacturers can begin the process of becoming licensed to directly ship wine to Massachusetts consumers. This change in M.G.L. c. 138 was included in the FY 2015 Budget signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick.
According to the Boston Globe at least 91 wineries have already applied for the new license. Because both manufacturers and the trucks used for transporting wine are regulated by the state FedEx has also applied for an additional 700 licenses to transport.
Massachusetts is one of the leading states in the nation in per capita wine consumption and the new direct wine shipper license will open a new avenue for out of state wine manufacturers.
The new license will allow manufacturers to deliver directly to consumers, but not allow sales to Massachusetts retailers. The ABCC issued an advisory on direct wine shipping that will help guide the wine industry in interpreting the new changes. This advisory includes who qualifies for the new license and how to comply with reporting obligations as well as licensing fees.