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SD Senate gives its OK for shipping wines

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PIERRE — Wineries that hold federal permits would be allowed to ship their products directly to South Dakota consumers under legislation approved Monday by the state Senate.

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The sponsor, Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, said the proposal promotes free markets and would make more types of wine available from wineries, regardless of whether they are located within or outside South Dakota.

Senators voted 23-11 in favor. SB 114 now goes to the House of Representatives. Brown said the governor supports its passage. Proof of age would be required when the order is place and when the wine is delivered. “We should allow those wineries, those producers, and the consumers of this state to ultimately be the ones making those choices,” Brown said. Senators rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Dan Lederman, R-Dakota Dunes, that attempted to limit direct shipping only for wines that aren’t already in distribution in South Dakota. Sen. Ried Holien, R-Watertown, supported Lederman’s additional requirement. “For good or ill, South Dakota has not had direct consumer wine shipping for over a decade while other states have,” he said.

But Sen. Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City, said some wines come into South Dakota in limited quantities and aren’t widely available to consumers for off-sale consumption. “Once again, a distributor is deciding what’s available to the public,” Jensen said.

Brown, likewise, resisted the Lederman amendment. “Once again, we’re allowing a handful of wholesalers pick winners and losers, as they’re deciding what to distribute across the state,” Brown said.

The bill seemed dead earlier when the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee twice wasn’t able to get a majority to endorse it.

But it was re-routed to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it was endorsed Friday on a 5-3 vote. That allowed the bill to be put on the debate calendar for the full Senate.

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Bob Mercer
Bob Mercer reports from the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre for The Daily Republic and other newspapers around the state.
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