Cheers! Beginning July 1st, Maryland residents no longer have to leave the comfort of their homes to get wine.
Since a new law passed, wine drinkers can buy their bottles straight from the winemakers, without a trip to the store. To get a permit in Maryland, producers need to pay a $200 annual fee and post a $1,000 bond.
But despite the law's initial fanfare, winemakers have not rushed to take advantage new rules. Among the 50 wineries in the state, only 11 have received permits to deliver wine directly to Maryland customers’ homes. Eight of those wineries are based in Maryland, while three are out-of-state.
Those 11 wineries include Black Ankle, Boordy Vineyards, Elk Run Vineyards, Far Eastern Shore Winery, Fiore Winery, Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, Terrapin Station Winery, Tilmon’s Island Winery, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Spanos-Berberian Winery and Westport Winery.
Just because the wine is mailed doesn't mean customers won't be carded for their purchases. To receive the wine when delivered, buyers must prove they are at least 21 years old. Also, there’s a limit: each customer can have up to 18 cases delivered per year per winery.
Elk Run Vineyards Manager Julian Wilson is optimistic about the new legislation.
“We are ecstatic,” Wilson said. “It’s only going to be positive.”
Wilson said that all of the wineries with permits are working together to be prepared for July 1st when direct delivery begins.
“Right now, the eleven wineries with permits are the biggest in Maryland. I’m sure as time goes along, some of the smaller wineries will join it.”
On Friday, the state legislature goes into effect, allowing direct wine sales and also increasing Maryland sales tax on wine and alcoholic beverages from 6 to 9 percent.