Illinois' begins wine sales crackdown

Things changed as of today for wine enthusiasts in Illinois.

A new state law took effect today prohibiting out-of-state retailers from shipping products directly to Illinois consumers. That means Internet merchants, wine brokers and auction houses as well as winemakers.

Here are the exceptions:

• Illinois wineries can sell up to 12 cases a year to state residents.

• Out-of-state wineries licensed by Illinois also can sell up to 12 cases of wine a year to a resident.

Illinois wineries that produce less than 25,000 gallons a year can sell up to 5,000 gallons directly to retailers, while larger in-state wineries will have to use distributors to get their products to stores and restaurants. Some have said they're afraid they will be unable to find distributors willing to take on their small business.

The law was designed to protect the state's $253 million-a -ear wine industry and the system that moves wine sales in the state through distributors.

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