New Jersey is one of only two states in the nation that prohibits certain wineries from being allowed to ship direct to consumers.

Photo: Free the Grapes campaign
Photo: Free the Grapes campaign


There are more than 9,000 wineries in the US, but fewer than 400 are legally licensed to ship to NJ residents. We're on the short end again. The law prohibits wine makers who produce more than 250,000 gallons or more than 100,000 cases a year from selling direct online.

At first glance you may say that sounds like a big company. Same thing I thought when I spoke with Jeremy Benson who's the executive director of Free the Grapes! He explained that there are hundreds of small mom and pop wineries who are affiliated with the larger producers and that prohibits them too. That and our neighbors in PA and NY do not have the same restrictions.

The big news is that opening up this free market channel will potentially generate millions in tax and registration revenue to the state. And according to Benson, in states that have relaxed regulations, the small local companies flourished. This deregulation and free market solution to increase consumer direct sales is a win/win for New Jersey.

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.

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