Wine Growers Bill Passes

January 17, 2012

The Wine Growers Bill (S-3172) Becomes Law

On January 17th, 2012, Governor Christie signed Bill S-3172 into law, allowing wineries to ship their products directly to New Jersey consumers. With the passage of the Wine Growers Bill, wineries all over the country will no longer be prevented from shipping wine to customers and connoisseurs throughout the state of New Jersey.

Florio Perrucci Steinhardt and Fader represented the Garden State Wine Growers Association and played an integral role in pushing this bill through the legislature and onto the Governor’s desk. Louis Cappelli, Jr, Jr., the Managing Partner of Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader’s Cherry Hill Office, led the effort on behalf of FPSF. Mr. Cappelli, a veteran attorney with extensive experience in Government & Regulatory Affairs, spearheaded the initiative to get this legislation passed. His hard work and due diligence has directly contributed to the growth and preservation of New Jersey’s farms and their economic stability.

The growth of NJ’s Wine Industry has been inhibited by arcane laws dating back to prohibition, which precluded wineries from shipping their wine directly to customers in the Garden State. This antiquated legislation also hurt NJ’s Agricultural industry and endangered thousands of New Jersey Jobs, wineries and farms. Thanks to the efforts of the NJ Legislature and Governor Christie, New Jersey’s Wine and Agricultural Industry will continue to thrive, while allowing New Jerseyans access to good quality wine.

After an incredibly hard fought battle against entrenched special interest groups such as the New Jersey Alcohol Retailers & Wholesalers, and the New Jersey Restaurant Association, the bill was passed by both houses of the NJ Legislature on January 9th, one week prior to Governor Christie’s acceptance of the legislation. Governor Christie praised the passage of this legislation in his recent address to the state Board of Agriculture and the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, and recognized the importance of the bill for New Jersey Agriculture. Additionally, Senate President Stephen Sweeney acknowledged the magnitude of this triumph at the opening day of the state’s Agricultural Convention explaining that opponents of this bill spent $1 million dollars in their attempt to prevent the passage of S-3172, calling this “a major victory”.

The passage of this new legislation will protect existing wineries, encourage new wineries to open in NJ, preserve farmland and promote agri-tourism in the Garden State. Additionally, this new law will permit New Jersey to join 38 other states that authorize the shipment of wine from wineries and distribution centers outside of the state, directly to consumers in New Jersey.

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