A "technical delay" at the state Alcoholic Beverage Control has kept Arkansas wineries from taking advantage of a new direct shipment law that went into effect Aug. 16.
Michael Langley, ABC director, said this week that the agency is in the process of building a website that will provide Arkansas wineries the rules, registration forms and shipping labels required for compliance of Act 483 of 2013.
"The quicker the better," Langley said. "We’re coming up with a solution to the technical delay. Our projection is that we’ll have it ready by the fourth quarter."
Under the new law, Arkansas wine consumers can have one case of wine per calendar quarter shipped to them. But they must have "physically visited the winery and made a purchase." A "wine club" would allow each winery to ship an individual a case per quarter if four cases are purchased at the winery at the same time, Langley said.
In 2001, Arkansas wineries were first allowed to sell their products in grocery and convenience stores. A 2005 law allowed Arkansans to receive direct shipments from Arkansas winemakers, but not from wineries in other states. On May 16, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Michigan and New York could not ban interstate direct shipments of wine while allowing in-state wineries to ship to residents. Arkansas lawmakers banned both direct shipments from in-state and out-of-state wineries to accommodate the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Arkansans who visit wineries in other states will also be able to have wine shipped directly to them as part of Act 483.
Tina Post of Post Familie Vineyards in Altus said Wednesday that no wine had been directly shipped yet because she is waiting to see the regulations.
State Rep. Mary Broadaway, D-Paragould, sponsored Act 483 as Bill 1749 in March.
According the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, more than 150 bonded wineries have existed in Arkansas in the state’s history. At least 11 Arkansas wineries are currently in operation.