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Maryland’s Inconsistent Wine Laws

No wonder it is difficult to have a thriving winery industry in Maryland! Even though Maryland wineries have increased to more than forty, other states are increasing faster. Check out Virginia and Texas. Maryland has a long way to go to catch up. Part of the problem is with Maryland’s alcohol laws.

Years ago after Prohibition, Maryland made the decision to allow its individual counties to determine alcohol regulations. The result is chaos for winery owners, wine shops and consumers. Check out the article, “Growing state wine industry targets uneven alcohol laws” by David M. Johnson in the Gazette.net, a Maryland community online newspaper.

Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Howard County, Maryland is unable to sell wine because of the requirement that the winery must grow 51 percent of the grapes it uses. Kudos to Ken Ulman, Howard County Executive, who recently visited Tin Lizzie and willingly listened and gained an understanding of the existing problem with that regulation. Currently Tin Lizzie Wineworks is an “educational winery.”

Chaotic wine regulations also affect tourism. Wouldn’t you like to know whether a tasting fee is applicable or if food can be purchased in a tasting room?

In addition, vineyards are beautiful and add value to farmland. What better way to preserve farmland than to add a valuable crop like grapevines? Let’s encourage all of Maryland to support wineries and vineyards.

Cheers! Kathy

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