Pa. mulls measures allowing direct wine shipments from out of state

    Two legislative proposals would expand the selection of wines that can be shipped directly to Pennsylvania consumers. Both plans await action by state House lawmakers.

    The measures are popular, even with some in-state wineries that already have the ability to ship directly.

    Carl Helrich, who owns Allegro Winery in York County, says whether out-of-state wineries will be able to keep their prices low when shipping to customers depends on the volume involved.

    “You start having to pay any interest in tax, on top of the excise tax, on top of your shipping and everything else,” he said. “At a certain point, you have to pass a lot of that onto the customer.”

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    But he said he is not worried about the potential competition.

    “We’re a small winery making small, handcrafted artisan-style wines versus the wineries that are trying to … sell 3 million gallons of a certain wine,” he said Monday.

    The House bill, unlike a similar Senate measure awaiting a vote, would not restrict the quantity of wine that can be shipped to a customer.

    Both proposals may be stymied by House GOP leaders, who say they don’t want to start down the road of privatizing the state’s liquor stores in a piecemeal fashion.

    But the Republican sponsor of the House plan says if the Legislature isn’t able to pass full privatization, it should at least pass a direct shipping proposal.

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