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May 2, 2014

Wine saleamendments clear house

BOSTON — Two lawmakers would have the state loosen the state’s regulation of wine sales at vineyards and online.

New policy proposals from Rep. William Straus and Minority Leader Brad Jones were adopted without discussion during the third and final day of debate on the state’s annual budget. They would need to clear the Senate before becoming law.

The Jones amendment would create a new license for direct wine sales, which is something former New England Patriots quarterback and current vintner Drew Bledsoe has lobbied for. The license would be available to wineries with federal permits, costing $300 initially and $150 for renewal.

The wineries would need to pay taxes on the shipments and would be penalized for shipping to anyone underage.

There is some disagreement between state and federal law over whether Massachusetts can restrict out of state wine shipments, according to Jones.

The Straus amendment would allow wineries to offer wine samples, as long as no sample exceeds one ounce and no more than five samples are served to any one individual. Currently, wineries are allowed to sell wine by the glass if they are licensed to do so.

— State House News Service

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