Is Delaware DtC Wine Shipping Right Around the Corner?

Lizzy Connolly
December 5, 2022

Delaware State Rep. Mike Smith (R-Pike Creek Valley) plans to introduce legislation that will open up direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shipping to Delawareans. Currently, state residents can legally purchase wine through the three-tier system but are not able to purchase directly from a winery and have the product shipped to their front door. Smith’s bill would change that.

“In the state of Delaware, you still cannot have wine shipped directly to your homes,” Smith said in a statement posted to the Delaware State House of Representatives – Republican Caucus Facebook page. “Around the holiday season, one of the things people like to do most is ship a bottle of wine to their friends. Whether that’s through a wine club, through a winery…they want to get their friend, their family that bottle of wine that they’ve been wanting all year round. And in Delaware, you still can’t do that.”

Smith added that the three-tier system is old, antiquated and dates back to Prohibition. It is the main reason people “don’t want to move the needle in Delaware” toward DtC wine shipping, he said.

State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-Clayton) is expected to be a co-prime sponsor of the new bill, according to the statement. Spiegelman said state residents can have prescription drugs delivered to their front doors, and the state is dragging its feet on the issue of shipping wine DtC, as consumers deserve greater choice and the state could benefit from increased tax revenue.

House Bill 210, which would have granted limited DtC wine shipping permissions in the state, was previously introduced in 2021 but did not advance in the legislative session. Smith explained that his latest iteration of the bill would include some of the following elements:

  • Require carriers, like FedEx and UPS, to obtain special licenses to handle wine shipments.
  • Require drivers to receive training on how to responsibly make wine deliveries.
  • Mandate special labeling of the packages.
  • Require licensing of wineries shipping their products to Delaware.
  • Impose the same state alcohol taxes levied on retail sales.
  • Restrict deliveries to adults over the age of 21 that must identify themselves and sign for the package.
  • Set annual limits on the quantity of wine that wineries would be able to ship to individual households and to Delaware as a whole.

“In Delaware, we always pride ourselves on being first,” Smith said. “But in this case, let’s not be last. Happy holidays and let’s get this done for Delawareans.”

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Lizzy Connolly

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