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Lawmaker seeks to allow wine sales directly to Alabama homes

Ozan.jpg

A push is underway to allow wine shipments directly to Alabama homes.

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia already allow this option to consumers, according to The Wine Institute.

At Ozan Winery in Calera, Chris Smith sells the vineyard’s award winning wine to people across the county. But he faces a problem when Alabamians want wine shipped directly to their homes.

“We are allowed to ship outside of the state of Alabama directly to consumers,” explained Smith. “We use a shipping company that handles that licensing. But inside the state of Alabama, we currently have to ship directly to an ABC store so there is no direct consumer purchasing.”

Smith says allowing direct shipment in Alabama would boost business at Ozan.

“It would give us the ability to put that bottle on a table in someone's home to enjoy wine produced here in Alabama,”

Wednesday, a Senate committee meeting was scheduled to have a public hearing on a bill by Sen. Bill Holzclaw (R- Madison) that would allow the direct wine shipments.

Committee chairman, Sen. Phil Williams (R- Rainbow City) says Holtzclaw asked lawmakers to wait a little longer, probably so he could work out some issues on the bill before the vote.

There was a list of opponents ready to speak, including Joe Godfrey who represents a group of churches.

“We're concerned about the continued expansion of alcohol and this is an unprecedented expansion because it makes it available to people in their own homes,” explained Godfrey.

Williams says he looks forward to more debate on the issue...

“I'm going to want to find out why Alabama cannot do what other states are doing, states we typically align ourselves with,” explained Williams.

“The concern I would have is the underage drinking idea and those topics that have to be addressed,” said Sen. Greg Reed (R- Jasper). “The fact that you get online and order things that come to a home or an apartment.”

Reed says he also understands the convenience factor for consumers.

Senator Williams tells ABC 33/40 he'll put the bill back on his committee's calendar when Senator Holtzclaw is ready.

ABC 33/40 repeatedly reached out to Holtzclaw Wednesday. He did not make time to talk to us for this story.

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