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Shipping Wine To SD

February 11, 2014, 10:10 PM by Angela Kennecke

Shipping Wine To SD

South Dakota is one of a handful of states that doesn't allow people to have wine shipped from out of state wineries to their homes.  But a bill in the state legislature aims to change that.  It passed committee Tuesday morning and now goes before the full Senate. 

A trip to Napa Valley wine country had one big disappointment for Rod Fieldsend. 

"Then when we found a wine we liked, we went and said, 'Well, can we get this back home?'  They said, 'Where do you live?'  We said, 'South Dakota,' and they said, 'Oh, you're one of the red states.' That means they don't ship wine to South Dakota," Fieldsend said.

That prompted Fieldsend to take part in a grass roots effort to allow small shipments of wine to South Dakota consumers. 

"We just wanted the ability to find a wine we wanted every once and a while, not available here that the wholesalers, because of the small amounts of that, they don't want to create time and effort to bring into South Dakota," Fieldsend said.

Wholesalers are opposed because they worry the measure would hurt their business.  Retailers aren't sold either. 

Independent retailers say they know they have to keep up with a changing industry.  But they are concerned if South Dakota allows wine to be shipped from other states, it could be a slippery slope, opening the door for shipments of other things like beer and spirits.

"I'm pretty split right down the middle on this," Strawbale Winery owner Don South Said. 

South understands why wine lovers would like the option.  But he also thinks the licensing fees, which would run more than $150 per year, plus taxes, would cause wineries to opt out of shipping just a case or two to customers. 

"I can't imagine how it would be economical for me to ship wine to someone in Mobridge when they could get it at a store in Aberdeen.  The economics just don't work," South said.

Still, for those who do choose to pay the licensing fees and taxes, the Department of Revenue estimates allowing out of state wine imports could generate up to $300,000 for state coffers. 

The bill now before the Senate requires that wine deliveries must be signed by someone over the age of 21.

State Shipping Laws for Wineries

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