Update: NJ gets a new wine shipment law

Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City, NJ
UPDATE: Governor Chris Christie this week signed the bill into law. Earlier story follows.

TRENTON, NJ -- It now is up to Governor Chris Christie whether the law on direct wine sales in New Jersey changes.

Legislation that would allow residents to directly acquire wine from sellers in other states and allow New Jersey wineries to ship wine to customers today received approval from both houses of the state legislature and went to the governor for review and signature.

If he signs the bill, it would establish a special category of vineyard, also covering out-of-state wineries, for all of those producing less than 250,000 gallons of wine annually. They, for a licensing fee of less than $1,000, could operate up to 18 sales rooms across to sell its own products.

Vineyards could also sell to a retailer, such as a licensed liquor store, or to a wholesaler. The winery also would be permitted to ship up to 12 cases to any customer for personal consumption.

The Assembly passed the bill by a 51-18 vote with four abstentions. The Senate approved it 24-9. Christie has until January 19 to sign it into law. If he does not, what is known as a "pocket veto" occurs, and the bill must begin the legislative process all over again.

The Garden State Wine Growers Association has a place on its website consumers may use to urge Christie to act on the bill.

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