A second wine-delivery bill, unveiled Feb. 5, would allow wine-of-the-month club purchases to be shipped to state-run liquor stores — but not homes.
While SB103, sponsored by Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, would be less convenient for consumers, it could be cheaper, because subscriptions would not be subject to the state’s 88% markup on wine.
Customers instead would pay a handling fee to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control when picking up their orders.
Under the proposal, wine subscription businesses would be required to register with the DABC to ship or transport wine to customers in the state, Davis said. The companies also could not ship products already sold in Utah liquor stores.
The bill "is not direct to consumer,” as some wine lovers might like, Davis said, but it eliminates concerns about underage drinkers getting access to alcohol deliveries.
“The one thing we want to make sure of,” he said, "is that it does not go to children.”
[Listen: “Utah Booze News:” What liquor changes are on tap at this year’s Legislature?]
Davis’ bill is the Legislature’s second wine-delivery proposal of 2020.
Last month, Rep. Michael McKell, R-Spanish Fork, unveiled HB157, which would allow consumers to order wine from out-of-state producers or wine clubs. They could pick up their shipments at a state-run liquor store of their choice, or — for an additional fee — pay to have the wine delivered to their homes.
Both bills have been introduced in their respective chambers, but neither has been assigned to a committee for a full hearing.
Davis believes his more restrictive proposal may have a better chance of getting approved by the Legislature, the majority of whom are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members to abstain from alcohol.
Utah is one of five states — along with Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky and Mississippi — that does not allow direct-to-consumer wine delivery, according to Free the Grapes, a national grassroots organization working to improve consumer choice in wine.
Utah’s law is especially harsh. It currently is a felony to have wine shipped to a residence.