OK says Okay To First Step To Wine Shipping

 


Oooh-klahoma – where the wine comes sweeping down the plain.
 
The amber waves of grain in the nation's bread basket may not exactly give way to the emerald vines of wine, but the Sooner State's doorsteps may soon see an influx of shipping boxes bursting with wine bottles.
 
“A joint resolution that would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to allow residents here to order wine from wineries and have it shipped directly to their homes has passed in a 6 to 4 vote in committee earlier this month,” reporter Rachael Van Horn said in a recent story in the Oklahoma-based newspaper Woodward News.
 
According to the Woodward News, the bill is simple – anyone of legal drinking age can have wine shipped to their home. 
 
Experts in Oklahoma politics told Van Horn though the committee's decision may see like a victory for wine drinkers and winemakers, the proposed amendment faces a difficult road ahead. 
 
Because the new wine laws would require a change of the state's constitution, Van Horn wrote, the laws would have to be put to a state-wide vote in which Oklahoma residents decide the fate of the change.
 
Though it sounds ominous, the bill's author, Representative Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, said Oklahoma residents are expressing on his Facebook page their excitement about the bill.
 
“This bill is wildly popular with the public,” Kirby told Van Horn. “On my Facebook page I am getting people saying 'It's finally about time.' And I agree. Oklahoma's liquor laws are pretty antiquated.”
The committee's actual vote – six yeses and four nos – is a cause for concern, though. Kirby noted opening up the state's borders for wine imports threatens the heads of the state's liquor business.
 
“This is about money and for just a select few – pure and simple,” Kirby said in the article. “They are telling politicians that it will cause the loss of jobs and tax revenue in the state of Oklahoma.”
 
According to Van Horn, current laws allow Oklahoma wineries to ship wine to liquor stores in the state and “are not permitted to hire a third-party carrier or trucking company to ship their wines to that liquor store,” Oklahoma winemaker Brad Stinson said.
 
Should the bill pass, it will be a welcomed relief for Oklahoma oenophiles, Stinson said. 
 
“The wineries in Oklahoma would really like to have legal shipping where we could send wine to customers in state,” he told Van Horn. “We would like to be able to have wine clubs like they do in California where, if you come to the winery and you find a wine you like you can just have them send it to you.”
 

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