Topeka Kansas wineries could broaden their sales area under a bill sent to the Senate by the chamber's Federal and State Affairs Committee.
"It continues to allow Kansas farm wineries to sell to retailers in the state. It opens up the ability to ship out of state," Richard Bryan, of Linwood, from the Kansas Viticulture and Farm Winery Assn., said after Thursday's committee vote.
"It opens up the distribution system. It's going to open up the areas to expand and could double the grape acreage in the state," he said.
Among other things, the bill allows Kansas wineries to ship up to 100,000 gallons of wine annually to residents in other states. It also allows out-of-state wineries to ship an equal amount to Kansans, who would have to pick it up at a licensed liquor store.
Kansas law prohibits direct shipping of any wine, regardless of origin, but its 13 "farm wineries" are allowed to deliver their products directly to retail outlets. The latest proposal would still allow direct sales at the wineries.
The legislation was prompted by a May 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said states that allow direct shipping of wine to in-state customers must extend out-of-state wineries the same privilege.
In December, a federal judge in Seattle ruled that Washington state may not allow in-state wineries and breweries to sell alcohol directly to consumer outlets unless out-of-state producers are also allowed to do so.