Maryland Passes Progressive “Winery Modernization Act”

Apr 22

Just in time for Tax Day, the Maryland General Assembly, on the last day of the 2010 legislative assembly, unanimously passed the The Maryland Winery Modernization Act. Industry members and advocates hailed the bill, saying it will unburden the Maryland wine industry from Prohibitionist-era shackles and bring the state’s industry into parity with those of other wine-producing states.

While a much-hoped for provision allowing direct shipping to adult wine consumers was NOT part of the bill, Maryland wine producers are still greatly pleased that it will enable the following things which were previously prohibited:

  • Wineries can sell their wines at farmers markets
  • Wineries can purchase and transport bulk wine from one another
  • Wineries can produce their wines at other bonded facilities
  • Wineries may produce up to 1,900 gallons of brandy annually (either for fortification–as with port-style wines–or for artisanal grappa-style spirits)

Aside from the first provision, the other provisions of the bill are mostly regulatory in nature and affect the freedom with which wineries can make, blend, and transport their products, something producers in most any other industry except nuclear power can do without much thought to state government regulation on a scale endured by the Maryland wine industry since Prohibition.

Note: some Maryland wines will be poured at the upcoming Drink Local Wine conference at Lansdowne Resort in Loudoun County, which is situated within sight of the Maryland/Virginia state line on the shore of the Potomac River. For more information on the conference, speakers and schedule, please visit

Maryland Wine Supporters: We Need Your Help

Feb 04

Maryland residents who support liberalization of the state laws that prevent wineries shipping direct to adults, take notice! The state legislature in Annapolis is debating possible changes to liberalize the state’s restrictive wine laws, and you can be “Wine/Tea Party” Activists in bringing positive change to state government.

The following is information from Adam Borden, Executive Director, Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws:

2/22 Hearing & Bill #s
We finally have a hearing date set in Annapolis: Monday, February 22nd.  We need as many people as possible to attend in order that our esteemed elected officials hear from their constituents.  Please either sign up via our Meet Up page or send me an email.  It is customary for all the PROPONENTS to testify first with the OPPONENTS testifying last, which means we need to address all of their concerns before we even hear them.  We anticipate that the Senate hearing will follow about one week later, and we will let you know when it will happen as soon as we know.

The bill numbers are as follows:
Senate Bill 566
House Bill 716 (will go live tomorrow)

If there was ever a time to think about donating to our cause, NOW IS IT – the pedal is to the metal!  We need to target particular districts and need your help to do so.  Please help fund mailings so that more voters in specific jurisdictions will contact their very influential delegates:

  • Donate $100
  • Donate $50
  • Donate $25
  • Donate Your Own Amount

The reality of politics is that wine shipping may not pass this year (AGAIN!) because we won’t have enough committee votes to get it out of committee.  In theory, representative democracy would correlate with the will of the majority, which we clearly have in both chambers; however, the logic of politics does not always follow that of the rest of the world. 
Help connect the two!

Volunteers for Emails & Calling

In addition to mailing, we need some help calling and emailing constituents in certain districts.  If you are able to spend a few minutes getting the word out, please let me know.

Signing Online Petition

Have you had the chance to sign our online petition and craft your own message for your delegates and senators?  Have you forwarded it to your friends, neighbors and Facebook buddies?  Here’s the link again:

May 2010 be our vintage!

Tastefully yours,

Adam Borden
Executive Director
Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws
4315 Underwood Road
Baltimore, MD 21218
Tel: (443) 570-8102