"Baby, this town rips the bones from your back…"

by Katie Pizzuto on January 12, 2009

in Distributor,Wine Shipping

i-278_nj_wt_18New Jersey has plenty of things wrong with it, most importantly that it’s not New York. I say that with the cruel-to-be-kind love of a native resident, and I mean it. But what bugs me most about my home state is that I can’t receive wine directly from wineries, be they in-state or out-of-state. Why? Because Fast-Fingered Freddie, who heads up WXYZ Distributors, needs to make sure he gets his slice of the pie and that won’t happen if I circumvent him. Then there’s also Louie “The Lizard” Legislator who needs to make sure he doesn’t miss out on collecting sales tax dollars from out-of-state wineries. Lastly, there’s the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association (otherwise known as Dickheads ‘R’ Us) who insist that legalizing direct wine shipments would cause rampant cases of under-aged teens ordering fine wine over the internet to get their illegal buzz on. The problems with all this are that:

1.    Under-aged teens have better things to do than order a case of wine from some small-production boutique winery in order to get shitfaced. They are way too busy borrowing the ID of a thirty-year-old cousin who looks nothing like them, memorizing their birthdate and zodiac sign, and heading out to local bars and liquor stores for six packs and fifths of SoCo. Most frat houses have little interest in securing the last few bottles of a hard-to-find vintage.

2.    Boutique wines are only available to us via the internet (or by purchasing direct at the winery and having it shipped home) because they don’t even HAVE a damned wholesale distributor, thus, they don’t get to grace the shelves of the liquor stores we’re supposed to be buying from.

3.    If NJ legislators would curtail the acceptance of lavish gifts in exchange for city contracts, the bribery, the extortion, the tax evasion, the use of campaign funds to pay personal expenses, the racketeering, and the money laundering, then perhaps we’d be able to worry a little less about plucking every last penny out of wineries that are trying to eek out a living, and taxing the ever-loving shit out of them.

Bill S1810/A2656, sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader Stephen M. Sweeney and Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli, would allow New Jersey to join 35 other US states and let its cork dorks get their favorite juice sent directly to their homes—IF passed. So please, if you’re from the area that Bruce Springsteen lovingly refers to as a death trap and a suicide rap, visit www.uncorknj.com and knock on your legislators’ proverbial doors. In fact, please knock them down with a wrecking ball if at all possible. Email them. Let them know you want them to free the friggin’ grapes!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 waterdr January 12, 2009

Already done, thanks for the heads up.


2 Katie Pizzuto January 12, 2009

You bet! I hope everyone else does the same.


3 barbotus January 12, 2009

Thanks for the tip Katie!!! Messages have been sent.


4 Linsey January 12, 2009

wow! im amazed u cant order wine online in nj – totally agree with u there – seems a bit anally retentive too

and ur right – i cant think of a single teen who would go to the hassle of ordering wine like that – they are too busy getting rat-assed from sipping from what their parents already have in the cupboard – well they are in the uk lol


5 Ron Washam, HMW January 12, 2009

ALL of the arguments against allowing the shipping of wine are disingenuous and simply a smokescreen–no one but the criminally imbecilic believes them for even a minute, including those espousing them. For an Attorney General to defend the status quo when the Supreme Court has overwhelmingly said her reasoning is wrong is criminally naive and stupid and, therefore, can only be pleading for campaign funds from the rich wholesalers and distributors.

What inevitably has to happen is not legislation, the representatives in every state that has finally allowed shipping to occur have been in the pocket of distributors, but a lawsuit filed by someone, or some entity, wealthy enough to get it to the state Supreme Court which will have to void the NJ laws because they know how the US Supreme Court will rule and they don’t like to be overruled. That’s what has happened in most states.

It is nice to think that legislators will respond to emails about this business, but this is not an issue which determines their reelection, so they’ll ignore it in favor of their campaign contributors. We get the government we pay for.

As ever though, Katie, you articulate your rage with grace, precision, and fucking great profanity.



6 mferg January 13, 2009

Hey, I remember this conversation, good to see you still have the passion and determination.



7 Katie Pizzuto January 13, 2009

Hey Mike! Thanks for finally leaving a comment!! Glad to see you poking around. Sometimes I feel like the Angry Young Man in Billy Joel’s song, where the rage and angst are futile, but I want my damned wine delivered to me!! 🙂


8 Jackson January 14, 2009

Let’s all remember, please, that profanity is nothing more than the verbal crutch of the inarticulate motherfuckers.


9 Katie Pizzuto January 14, 2009

Eloquently put Jackson!


10 Linsey January 14, 2009



11 Coupe 60 January 14, 2009

on the plus side, our Governor has not yet tried to sell our US Senate seat……

…and as near as I can tell we have no Kennedy’s living here to stake a claim for any vacant seat should one occur without giving the slightest regard for qualifications…


12 Coupe 60 January 14, 2009

oh, and done…sent the note to my legislators


13 Katie Pizzuto January 14, 2009

All very valid points, Coupe, but as the now golf-playing Giants once said, “Just give us a little more time, we can do it.”


14 Coupe 60 January 29, 2009

Received a reply back from my reps Katie,

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding your support
for individuals being able to purchase wine in the manner of their
choosing, including over the internet.

As you may be aware, New Jersey is one of 24 states that ban
direct interstate shipments of wine, requiring outside wineries to sell
their products through licensed wholesalers in the state. However, The
U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on May 16, 2005 that these laws are
discriminatory, anticompetitive and unconstitutional.

Conversely, because New Jersey requires both in state and out of
state wineries to go through a wholesaler, the Supreme Court decision
may not be applicable to New Jersey’s law.

We would like you to know that Senate Bill 1810 was introduced
on May 15, 2008 that would allow for the direct shipments of wine. We
would also like you to be aware that we are fully supportive of this
consumer rights issue and intend on supporting this legislation should
it reach our respective houses for a vote.

Thank you, again, for contacting us on this matter of mutual interest.
If we can be of assistance to you in the future on this or any other
state issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Senator Thomas H. Kean, Jr.
Assemblyman Eric Munoz, M.D.
Assemblyman Jon M. Bramnick


15 Katie Pizzuto January 29, 2009

Thanks so much for posting it Coupe! I guess the important words there are “SHOULD this reach our respective houses for a vote.” Let’s hope it does. Funny I didn’t get responses…I wonder if, after so many years on this issue they’re tired of hearing from me 😉


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