Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good News For Washington State Wineries

Washington State Governor, Christine Gregoire signed Senate Bill 6823 which will now allow out-of-state wineries to sell directly to retailers rather than through a distributor. Previously, Washington wineries were allowed to self-distribute, but out-of-state wineries were required to sell only through a distributor. Last year the current system was ruled unfair in a case brought by Costco, whose corporation is based in Issaquah, Washington.

U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman gave the state Legislature until April 14 to either ban all direct sales or extend the right to all out-of-state-producers. If the bill would have failed, it would have effected all Washington state wineries drastically. It would have meant that all Washington state wineries would have lost their right to self-distribute and it would especially effect the small wineries that don't produce enough wine to use distributors. Hopefully, this good news will encourage other states to follow Washington's lead.

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