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The Utah State Legislature has approved 'wine of the month' clubs (and some light bootlegging)

Is the world running out of wine?
Posted at 4:48 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 18:48:52-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that allows wine subscriptions has passed the Utah State Legislature.

The Senate gave final approval to Rep. Mike McKell's House Bill 157. The latest version of the bill allowed for things like the "wine of the month" clubs. But wine must be delivered to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control -- not direct to consumer -- and a cost plus 88% markup is applied.

RELATED: Listen to the latest episode of "Utah Booze News: An Alcohol Policy Podcast"

Still, Rep. McKell, R-Spanish Fork, said it was a good thing. He ran the bill after constituents contacted him frustrated that they could not import wine into the state. As a liquor control state, Utah exercises strict controls over alcohol importation.

"Let's be responsive to the market and what people want," Rep. McKell told FOX 13 on Tuesday.

The bill also makes another change to Utah liquor laws. It allows up to nine liters of wine -- or about a case -- to be brought into the state without penalty. Utah has previously forbidden it under anti-bootlegging laws or required it to be declared with the DABC.

"We are going to allow people to bring nine liters back domestically and internationally," Rep. McKell said. "So if you’re overseas, you’re abroad and you want to bring nine liters back you can do that. If you’re in Napa Valley and you bring nine liters back, I think it’s just common sense."

The bill now goes to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature or veto.

The legislature is also considering a bill by Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, to beef up consumer custom ordering through the DABC.