NH Wine Drinkers May Blow Their Cork If This Bill Passes
I'm a wine drinker. I love a great bottle of Pinot Grigio in the summer, and a nice bottle of red in the winter. Usually, I just pick up a bottle at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet...or maybe Hannaford, if I'm in a hurry. But I have friends who are really serious about their vino. Some of them will buy wine at an auction house. Others belong to a wine-of-the-month club, and have wine shipped directly to their home.
Well if the members of the New Hampshire Senate Commerce committee get their way on Wednesday, that may be a thing of the past. The committee plans to vote on banning wine shipments to New Hampshire consumers from out-of-state retailers.
PRNewswire.com says Senate Bill 353 would strip New Hampshire consumers of the right to receive shipments from out-of-state wine retailers, wine auction houses and wine-of-the-month clubs...a right they've had for many years. According to the article, Commission Chairman Joseph Mollica stated at a hearing in January, the bill is designed to protect New Hampshire retailers from competition. But the article also states, Mollica erroneously stated consumers "won't notice at all" the new restriction on their right to receive shipments from out-of-state wine retailers.
However, Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers, struck back. PRNewswire quotes Wark as saying, "New Hampshire consumers currently source wines they can't find locally from more than 80 wine stores and auction houses across the country. This bill will completely shut them off from receiving those wines." According the New Hampshire Liquor Commission's own fiscal note on the bill, the state would lose over $400,000 in fees and tax revenue if the bill becomes law.
I don't know about you, but as a wine drinker, it sounds like maybe the bill is trying to fix something that isn't really broken. But hey, what do I know? I think I'll just pop a cork and enjoy a glass of vino before the snow starts piling up tomorrow.