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Wine shipping rules stall in House

A proposal to regulate out-of-state wine orders flowing to Florida wine connoisseurs looks like it's going to stall again this year, after the bill was postponed indefinitely in one House council this morning.

The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, outlines how wineries outside the state could obtain Florida shipping licenses, pay taxes and prevent alcohol sales to underage drinkers.

A similar bill died in the Legislature last year.

And an ammendment to the bill limiting out-of-state shipping to wineries that produce fewer than 250,000 gallons a year led Bogdanoff to ask that the bill remain in the House Job & Entrepreneurship Council.

"It's freedom of choice," she said. "I'm not sure there's justification for the cap, but I'm not sure I have the support in the Florida Legislature to pass it without."

Florida law allows shipments from in-state wineries but bans direct shipment from outside Florida. The state backed off the enforcement ban after a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case found similar bans in other states unconstitutional.

But representatives from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation have said without state shipping regulations, Florida has had trouble enforcing laws on alcohol shipments, taxation and underage drinking.

The department also has suggested that the state might crack down on out-of-state wine orders after session if the Legislature doesn't approve shipping regulations but has said it's too soon to know exactly what it would do.