Florida HR 583 Set to Uncork Larger Format Wine Bottles

Alex Koral | March 12, 2024

This bill was signed into law on March 28, 2024 and takes effect July 1, 2024.

Florida wine lovers could soon enjoy a bigger selection of bottles based on a recent bill passed by the state’s legislature (HR 583) that would remove the existing cap on wine bottle sizes.

What is Florida’s HR 583 bill?

Currently, Florida law prohibits the sale of wine in bottles larger than one gallon (a little over three liters), unless it is sold in a 5.16 gallon (20 liter) reusable container. As such, Florida consumers looking to enjoy a larger format wine or spice up a party by bringing along a Nebuchadnezzar have been out of luck. This restriction applies to both wines sold in Florida stores and direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipments of wine.

Under HR 583, wine could be sold in Florida in 4.5-, 6-, 9-, 12- and 15-liter glass bottles—the standard sizes for larger format bottles.

The bill has passed both chambers of the Florida legislature and has been sent to Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk for a signature. While it is possible he could still veto the bill, it was approved nearly unanimously in the legislature (there was only one “nay” vote) so it seems to have overwhelming support in the state.

Unless it is vetoed, effective July 1, 2024, Florida consumers, wine sellers and DtC shippers alike will be free to pop open a Rehoboam or two in celebration.

Regulation of wine bottle sizes

By enacting HR 583, Florida will align itself with the rest of the country in terms of what sizes wine may be sold in. This is not to say that other states do not have their own rules around bottle sizes, but Florida is unique in the extent of its restrictions. For instance, New York and Texas also have a maximum container size for wine, but they set it at 15.5 gallons or a half-barrel, quite a bit more than the largest of standard wine bottles. Indeed, size limits are more often at play on the other end, with many states restricting the sale of wine (or more commonly spirits) in containers smaller than 100 or 50 mL.

Historically, size restrictions have been more about ensuring proper collection of taxes rather than any moralistic reason. If all products are sold in uniform sizes, then the amount of tax due can be neatly calculated from the total number of bottles sold rather than having to individually assess the bottles sold by each producer.

There was also interest coming out of Prohibition in assuring consumers as to the contents of their purchases—not merely so that they could trust in the quality of what they were drinking, but also know generally how much they were consuming if they didn’t measure out each pour.

These concerns are less salient in the modern alcohol market, which has led some to advocate eliminating standardized sizes for wine bottles entirely. However, in 2019 the Trade and Tax Bureau (TTB) decided against removing the federal standard fill sizes, opting instead to add three new available sizes for wine bottles. While many of the public comments for that rulemaking did argue in favor of increased freedom for producers, ultimately arguments around consumer confusion and the value of market conformity prevailed (after all, it’s much easier to pack and shelve bottles when they’re all the same size or set of sizes).

Nevertheless, standardization of wine bottles remains an open and developing issue for the beverage alcohol industry. Currently, the TTB is conducting yet another rulemaking around a proposal to add an additional 10 possible sizes that wine could be sold in.
Depending on how the TTB rules, possibly in the coming weeks, Florida residents wouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy greater diversity in their options for buying wine.

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Discover Florida and every other state’s specific rules for DtC wine shipping in our state-by-state guide.