Del. Bill Could Legalize Home Wine Delivery - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Bill Could Legalize Home Wine Delivery

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

LEWES, Del.- A House bill was released from committee in January that would legalize home wine delivery in Delaware. House Bill 60, introduced by Rep. Deborah Hudson, R-Fairthorne, in 2011, would add Delaware to the list of 40 other states that allow it.

It has been held up since 2011 due to political and business-related hurtles. Unions, retailers and wholesalers are worried they would lose money if consumers can purchase wine straight from the manufacturer.

Currently, there are more than 8,000 wineries in the United States, and supporters of the bill believe Delawareans should have access to various different wines.

Peggy Raley-Ward is the proprietor of Nassau Valley Vineyard's in Lewes, and has been supporting the bill since the beginning.  She is able to ship wine to customers in other states, but not in her home state of Delaware.

"All of our slogans and mottos are, 'it's good being first and the First State,'" she said. "When we opened the winery 20 years ago, we were actually 38th in wine production and for being the first state to ratify the constitution that's kind of crazy. It really is going to allow Delaware consumers the availability to try products from outside of the state or to try products from Delaware wineries that are unique."

However, the bill only allows wine manufacturers to deliver wine, not retailers. Kevin Hester, owner of Lewes' Teller Wines, is worried that will hurt his business.

"It's going to be a detriment to the local retailer because people will be able to go online and probably purchase wines at a cheaper price then we can sell it to them," he explained. "Doing my research for the business before I bought it, I did come to realize that it was illegal to ship to the state... and decided that since that was the law it was a plus for us as retailers here."

But according to Delaware House of Representatives Communications Officer Joe Fulgham, research from other states with a similar law has shown no negative effects on local retailers.

Lewes resident Dawn Vechery understands where small liquor stores are coming from, but is not concerned.

"They'll still get business and they'll always get business," she said. "But it gives people an opportunity to have other options."

The bill also has a sunset provision, meaning if the legislature does not think the law works, it can reevaluate it in four years.

The next step for this bill is to go to the House floor for a vote once the legislature reconvenes in March. 

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