Setback in Maine

Sovos | March 7, 2006

The Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee of Maine voted 8-2 against a proposal to allow direct shipments via a permit system. A fight is expected on the House floor.

Read more here, especially the Reader Comments section at the bottom of the article. Here are a few choice quotes:

As a Mainer who loves wine, I am very frustrated that the legislature is making it difficult for me to get the wines I want. The arguments about minors ordering wine are clearly weak, and may just disguise the pressure by those who really profit from the current arrangements: the distributors, who get to choose what to make available and to price it as they like. Wine here is more expensive than in other states for a reason! Distributors like to claim that anyone can obtain any wine by going through them. That, of course, is a bald-faced lie. Many small wineries sell *only* through their mailing lists. I don’t think it’s likely that we’ll get to see any of those wines. Most Maine towns do not have a local store that sells fine wine. Many consumers drive a long distance to go to a store, only to discover that what they want isn’t stocked or can’t be obtained in the state. It’s frustrating. Is it a wonder that the parking lots of the New Hampshire Liquor Stores are always full of cars with Maine plates?

I work for a large winery and we ship out of state with the usual requirements and have never EVER had a minor order wine for out of state shipping. I dare anyone to come up with a scenario where a person under age 21 orders a $40 bottle of Reserve Merlot. The arguments about underage drinking is so lame! Underage drinkers want BEER not wine – for heavens sakes get with the program.

It is ludicrous to imagine that kids will be ordering expensive wines from California. Kids know how to get hold of booze if they want it and most of them don’t even like wine. The distributors are the culprits here. They have absolute control of wholesale supply and they don’t want anything to disrupt that. The Legislature usually goes along, as they do with banking and other big interests.

Every single reader comment pushes for access to direct shipments.