Maryland may change wine shipping law

• From The Baltimore Sun

ANNAPOLIS, MD -- Wineries across the state -- and country -- soon might be permitted to ship bottles directly to Maryland homes. Shoppers could pick up local wines at more farmers' markets. And diners might one day be able to bring their favorite vintage to an already licensed restaurant.

After years of shooting down changes to the state's alcohol laws, lawmakers are showing signs this year that they're ready to embrace some measures long sought by consumers.

But for enthusiasts, there may be a price to pay: On Thursday, a state Senate committee agreed to raise the sales tax on alcohol from 6 to 9%. If the increase survives the budget process, it would be the first tax hike on alcohol in four decades.

Maryland wine aficionados are cheering the policy developments. While many are not happy about the potential tax increase, several predicted that it would have minimal impact on sales.

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