Massachusetts Wine Bill Vetoed

Backers of moves to lessen restrictions on interstate wine shipments may have been disappointed yesterday when Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney vetoed a bill that would have placed new regulations on wine shipments via mail.

Despite its passage by both houses of the state legislature, Romney said the legislation protected existing liquor distributors in Massachusetts rather than helping consumers.

Massachusetts (click here for a wine trail connection) consumers would have been able to buy wine from out-of-state vineyards, although their choices would have been restricted. It also would prohibit shipments by wineries producing in ex cess of 30,000 gallons a year if they had been represented by a liquor wholesaler in the state.

"This bill does not give wine lovers the opportunity to purchase the bottlings they want," Romney said in a statement. "It creates artificial barriers to protect Massachusetts wholesalers at the expense of a free market."

The Supreme Court ruled several months ago that a number of states, Massachusetts among them, had to treat in-state and out-of-state wine purchases by mail equally. Under current state law, only local wineries could ship by mail.

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