Proposed Oklahoma Bill Could Allow For Wine Direct Shipments

Thursday, February 12th 2015, 6:27 pm
By: Tess Maune

Oklahoma House Joint Resolution 1002 cleared committee this week, putting wineries like Whispering Vines Vineyards one step closer to being allowed to ship to customers right here in Oklahoma.

There are a lot of wines to choose from at Whispering Vines Vineyards & Winery in Tulsa.

Allie Rice here lives close by, so driving out to the vineyard to pick up a bottle of wine to drink with dinner is no problem for her.

But the same can't be said for many of Ladean Riesen's other faithful customers.

“Every weekend they're asking us, 'Can you ship? Can you ship?'” said Riesen, who owns Whispering Vines.

And the answer is always no -- if the buyer lives in state -- which many do.

That's where Oklahoma Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa) comes in.

“Oklahoma has some archaic liquor laws and this is a wildly popular issue, have gotten tons of support for this,” Kirby said.

His proposal is simple.

He wants to make it legal for Oklahomans to have wine shipped to their doorsteps -- from both in-state and out-of-state wineries.

“We're in the wine-selling business, not the wine storing business, so yeah, we'll do it,” Riesen said.

The catch? You can't order online or over the phone.

That means if you want a nice bottle or a case from a vineyard in Napa Valley that you can't back to Oklahoma, you'll have to go to the winery in person to have it shipped home.

It would be the same for Oklahoma wines, which Kirby said it would pour more money into the state's economy, while helping local businesses grow.

“It's a growing industry,” Kirby said. “The wine industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and Oklahoma can take advantage of this.”

The measure still has to pass through the state house and senate, and if it clears through all the hurdles, it will go on the November 2016 ballot.