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What 20,000 Disappointed Marylanders Can do Next

Another year and another defeat for direct shipping in Maryland can certainly depress the 20,000 people who make up Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws. However, there are things that can be done next. Build on the success of growing the non-profit group from 1,500 to 20,000. Aim for a six digit membership. Our state elected officials really can’t seem to help themselves fall victim to misinformation provided by lobbiests. Therefore continue to educate them and if possible, vote them out of office.

Voting politicians out of office may not have a desired result, since they will simply be replaced by other politicians. Therefore consider influencing the liquor wholesalers in the state. You might want to consider boycotting wine shops until a direct shipping bill is passed. Of course this can cause hardship but there are ways around not buying wine locally. Most Maryland residents are within an hour’s drive of a winery. Consider making a day trip to local wineries and stocking up on the wines you like.

Another option is to make your own wine. If you start with a wine kit, you will learn the basic process and end up with about 2 ½ cases of wine. By law, you are permitted to make 100 gallons of wine. You and your spouse can make 200 gallons of wine a year that is about 85 cases of wine. That’s a lot of wine. This is tax free so the state or the federal government will not collect tax on this wine. Do keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to wine kits. The more expensive kits will make a product that you may enjoy better.

If you would like to make a premium wine and don’t have the equipment at home, you won’t have to travel far. There are several winemaking facilities in Maryland, where you can go to make a barrel or tank of wine. Residents in Howard, Montgomery and Carroll counties may wish to make wine at Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Clarksville, Maryland. Winemaker Dave Zuchero will guide you through the basic steps using grapes purchased from several locations including Stagecoach Vineyards in Napa. You will end up with 21 to 23 cases of quality wine that you can actually serve to friends.

You can make a difference. Take action, whether it is educating politicians or making your own tax free premium wines, get involved rather than getting depressed. Remember more thn 30 other states allow direct wine shipping – don’t let Maryland be the last to learn about the direct wine shipping benefits, including more money for the state government.


  1. Denise McQuighan
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Yes, we are very disappointed and need to be able to take some action so we don’t feel so helpless. Rather than boycotting all wine shops in the state, I’m recommending boycotting all consumer wine purchases in the district of any committee member who votes against the bill. I’ve started a Facebook group “Virginia is for Maryland Wine Lovers” where we will track the vote and identify which areas of the state should be boycotted. I hope members will patronize restaurants in these districts, but not buy wine with meals, and will let the management know why.

  2. Posted March 10, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I had no idea we had one of these in clarksville! I will definitely check that out. There’s a similar operation north of Baltimore at Harford vineyards and winery; they recently started selling under their own label too but are still active in the “amateur marekt”. Vint Hill craft winery in northern VA lets you make wine alongside some of the big-time winemakers from that area but the prices are a bit higher.

  3. Kathy
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    If you are interested in making wine this spring, you may be able to do that at Tin Lizzie Wineworks. They will be sourcing grapes from South America. We are making wine at both Tin Lizzie and Vint Hill Craft Winery. We have a winemaking blog that chronicles the winemaking at both wineries. You can view it at http://winemaking.winetrailtraveler.com/


  4. Michael Leuschner
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Now that the Maryland Legislature has once again pursued the will of the powerful liquor lobby and ignored the will of the people. We should first and formost consider removing the Chairperson Sen Conway, whose husband is part of the liquor distributors, from office. Yes I know she will be replaced by another politician, but just maybe we could get one that is actually on our side. I will also be travelling to Northern Va. to a local Mailboxes Etc. or UPS store to procure a box to have my wine shipped to that location and then travel on a weekly basis to collect said wines which I have purchased. The state of Maryland WILL NOT be receiving the revenue of the taxes I pay if any and I will become the modern day bootlegger who transports his bounty across state lines.

  5. Donna Hekler
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    senator conway

    map district 43 baltimore md

    links for info.

  6. wegolf
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s a shame that Maryland is losing tax revenue to DC and VA just because the local distributors think wine clubs can break the three tier system. And the selling to minors is a completely bogus issue – the cost of shipping and time delay will kill any interest there. I think the answer is to develop groups in the appropriate local legislators’ districts to raise the issue over and over again. And start again next year.

    As a payoff, it is possible that the Winery Modernization Act may pass this year – which the wineries do want – so it is Maryland wine is moving forward. Baltimore Sun 3/6/10
    “After incurring the wrath of consumers and businesses for standing in the way of mail shipments, Conway is backing another measure that would allow local vineyards to expand their tastings and food service, as well as sell bottles at farmers’ markets. The Maryland Winery Modernization Act would also allow the state’s 41 licensed wineries to share resources such as bottling and processing.

    Conway is the lead sponsor of the measure, which has the backing of 43 of 47 senators. She has described the proposal as a “compromise.”

    Maryland is one of 13 states that ban direct shipping of wine, limiting residents’ access to varieties that local stores don’t stock or, some argue, prompting some residents to break the law by having cases shipped to other states and transporting them home or just having unmarked packages of wine delivered to their doors.

    The movement to legalize wine shipping has grown to more than 20,000 supporters, according to Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws, an advocacy organization. Dozens of social media and e-mail groups have sprung up. A majority of senators on Conway’s committee have endorsed the measure.

    Leaders of the movement have intensely lobbied lawmakers – some say too intensely.”

    I say – work with the wineries next time and build local constituencies from this year’s base. It’s a good start.

  7. Kathy
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for the Winery Modernization Act that will help wineries in Maryland but it doesn’t seem to help the residents of Maryland who want to have wine shipped to their homes.

    Why shouldn’t Maryland consumers be able to have wine shipped directly to their homes like other legal products?

  8. Posted March 10, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Is it time for new tactics? Yes. 60% of the General Assembly are co-sponsors many more said they’d vote for the bill if it gets to the floor. What Conway threatened to do is no worse than when the HOUSE committee sinks it by group action. What is unusual is that most bills do not have our type of support. I was at the hearing, and the 2010 House Idiot award goes to Warren E. Miller, District 9A. Howard county. Typical idiot, didn’t know he was making himself one and just kept it up for 4 hours. Amazing. Anyway the forward plan- Don’t Buy Wine in District 9. Let him explain it to business owners there.

  9. Kathy
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Rather than just saying District 9A, maybe we should be more descriptive. For instance, not all of Howard County is District 9A. We don’t want to hurt the businesses in areas where we do have support. Should a list of businesses or communities be created where we should not buy wine? It might be one way to discover who really is supporting direct wine shipping. Let’s fine tune things and get started now!

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