Hopeful…Judge delays decision that affects N.J. wineries

on 08/08/11 at 10:51 am

Wine

A U.S. District Court judge has given New Jersey lawmakers a shot at salvaging profits for the state’s wine industry.

In December, a federal court of appeals ruled that it was unconstitutional to allow in-state wineries to sell directly to retailers and in tasting rooms while requiring wineries from other states to go through wholesalers.

Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney backed a bill that would allow state wineries to keep their tasting rooms open and ship their products directly to consumers’ homes. The bill was not passed by the time lawmakers departed for their summer recess.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan supports the tasting room business, but wants to require New Jersey wineries to work through distributors.

But, last week, Judge Katherine Hayden granted an administrative stay on the matter until March 31, following a request from the Attorney General’s office on behalf of all parties for a stay “based on their belief that the matter is best resolved through a legislative solution that addresses the constitutional infirmities found by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Assemblyman John Burzichelli said the stay is positive for the industry as a whole.

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