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- Jerry D Mead - 01-12-1999 04:53 PM

The attached is from the organization that calls itself Free The Grapes. You can check them out a bit further at http://www.freethegrapes.org

WINE INDUSTRY CODE FOR DIRECT SHIPPING

January 12, 1999

Free the Grapes!, representing hundreds of American wineries, has developed a code of voluntary guidelines for direct shipments of wine to adult consumers for personal use. The purpose of the code is to provide wineries with a framework which, when adopted, will ensure that direct shipment orders and deliveries are completed in a manner consistent with appropriate laws, satisfies consumer demand, and supports the tenets of Free the Grapes!:

support legislative provisions that allow for wineries to pay state taxes; protect against sales to minors; and respect state and local Prohibition laws (e.g., "dry" laws).

Several of these principles are taken from the model direct shipment law, which was
proposed by the Coalition for Free Trade, Family Winemakers of California, Wine Institute,and American Vintners Association, and recommended for adoption by the National
Conference of State Legislatures, Task Force on the Wine Industry, on November 5, 1997.

Code

1.Out-of-state licensees may direct ship wine sold to adult consumers, for personal use,
only in states where it is legal to do so.
2.Out-of-state licensees must not ship to an address in an area identified by an appropriate state department of alcohol beverage control as a "dry" or local option
area for such shipments.
3.Cartons used to direct ship wine to adult consumers must be conspicuously labeled with a minimum notification "signature of person age 21 or older required for delivery" and must include a return address and other language required by specific state laws.
Licensees may opt to further identify the contents, including words such as "wine
enclosed" or "contains alcohol." Free the Grapes! recommends that wineries support
shippers, fulfillment companies and freight consolidators who utilize this labeling
procedure.
4.Licensees must request the birth date of the purchaser to verify that he/she is over 21 years of age before completing any transaction. Additionally, licensees must notify purchasers that the recipient will be asked to show identification upon delivery.
5.Free the Grapes! encourages licensees to contract only with shippers who check the
identification of recipients at the time of delivery to ensure that the recipient is 21 years of age or older.
6.All out-of-state licensees must report to the appropriate state authority the total of
wine, beer and spirits shipped into the state the preceding calendar year, as required by state law. Additionally, as required by state law, out-of-state shipper licensees must pay the appropriate state agency sales and excise taxes due on sales to residents of that state in the preceding calendar year.
7.Out-of-state licensees should offer consumers resources for answering their questions about direct shipping, including Free the Grapes! (http://www.freethegrapes.org) and Wine Institute (http://www.wineinstitute.org), among other resources.
8.Free the Grapes! encourages wineries to conspicuously post this code, and to train
employees, to increase the knowledge of, and appreciation for, the industry's responsibilities in direct shipping.
9.Out-of-state shippers, fulfillment companies and freight consolidators who do not abide by this voluntary code of business practices are not in compliance with wine
industry sanctioned standards. Non-compliance undermines the wine industry's desire
to: a) fulfill consumer demand, b) comply with government regulations and controls,
and c) support a dynamic distribution system which embraces both the efficiencies of
the traditional three tier system, and the evolution of a dynamic, direct-to-consumer
marketplace.

Questions, comments and suggestions may be directed during the comment period to Free
the Grapes! by February 15, 1999.


- Jerry D Mead - 01-12-1999 05:02 PM

. I take strong exception to the wording of Code #5, which requires checking of i.d. by shippers...why should a freight company be held to a higher standard than other adult beverage sellers or servers, who are only required to determine that the person is of legal age. The way you word it, they'll all be behaving like stupid DHL...requiring picture i.d. of white haired old ladies and other senior citizens...not once, but again and again...when it's the same driver delivering to the same "oldie." That's stupid.

Also...if everyone does as you say and obeys all the laws...what's the point? There's no conflict. There's no reason for CFT, Free The Grapes or any of the rest of it. Just say, as you have, "Obey All The Laws," and we can can all pack up and go home. The states will just keep passing more laws...all the licensees will fall in line...and the little guys will soon be out of business and consumers will have fewer and fewer ways to receive the products they want.

Some laws deserve to be ignored or broken...and when they become so commonly ignored and broken by the masses, they are more likely to be changed.

The states already are staking out liquor stores across state lines and then following their citizens (identified by the license plates) back across the state line and then citing them and confiscating the adult beverages in their possession. (In some states, the law would actually permit them to confiscate the vehicle!)

Next, thing, they'll be searching folks coming in on flights from wine producing states (44 of them) and confiscating their souvenir wines purchased in Napa Valley or Long Island wine countries.

That ought to make them scream...

The Wine Curmudgeon


[This message has been edited by Wine Curmudgeon (edited 01-12-99).]


- EPICURUS - 01-12-1999 08:41 PM

I take exception to the paying of sales tax (excise taxes are another matter even though they are excesive). All merchandise of whatever kind should be treated in exactly the same manner. If cameras, computers and chocolate can be ordered out of state and shipped without the mail order house or cyberstore collecting sales tax then the same should go for vino.

Moreover, the recent ecommerce regs recently adopted by Congress specifically exempt items sold over the Internet from any taxes for three years.

I know the wineries have no problem selling direct and collecting taxes, despite the nusance, because they are enjoying the extraordinary markup that would normally be divided by the wholesaler and retailer. However, retailers who ship direct need the tax break to offset the cost of shipping. Those local retailers who say this gives the out of state merchant an advantage don't take into account the shipping costs. Furthermore, the local retailers presumably are getting the benefits provided by the governmental entities imposing the sales tax.