Sep 30, 2013 10:47 AM by MTN News
HELENA - Whether you're a wine connoisseur or just a fan of a glass of good red, there's good news for you.
Tomorrow, Oct. 1, a new law will allow consumers to order wine directly from wineries. Previously, according to the Montana Department of Revenue's Liquor Control Division, a person would be required to have a connoisseur's license to order wine directly from wineries.
The law creates a direct shipment endorsement for wineries that allows them to sell and ship up to 18 9-liter cases of wine a year to an individual for personal use. A list of wineries that are registered or licensed with the department and have direct shipment endorsements will soon be available at revenue.mt.gov.
In the past, people ordering wine shipments from wineries were required to have a connoisseur's license, pay the taxes on the wine and file regular reports with the department. The new law does away with the connoisseur's license and moves those requirements to the wineries selling the wine.
"The advantage to Montana consumers is they no longer have to shoulder the administrative responsibility of a license," said Shauna Helfert, Liquor Control Division Administrator. "Montana consumers can order and pay for the wine from any of Montana's 18 wineries, or from wineries around the country that are licensed or registered with the department and hold a direct shipment endorsement."
The law, HB 402, was proposed by Rep. Chuck Hunter and passed during the 2013 Legislative Session.
"We wanted to take the burden off Montanans and provide an easier way for folks to access and enjoy the wine they like that they can't find locally," said Rep. Hunter. "Let's say they've traveled to the Napa Valley and found a favorite wine. Now, Montanans can order that wine conveniently once they're home."
The law also requires the common carrier to verify a recipient's age and require a signature of a person 21 years of age or older on delivery.
Other alcohol-related laws take effect on Tuesday. HB 524 removes the requirement for a retail licensee selling beer or wine for off-premise consumption to also sell groceries or sundries. And SB 120 increases from one to three the number of liquor licenses an individual may hold.