Home Wine Delivery in Pennsylvania? Likely, But Not Just Yet

As one local pizzeria moves forward with wine delivery, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says not so fast.




photo via flickr creative commons

 

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the changes in Pennsylvania liquor law since Act 39 went into effect in August, and now a new development currently is unfolding: Pa. residents likely will be able to have direct home delivery of wine from licensed restaurants.

“It’s one of those things that everyone overlooked at first, but if this is true and that is true (in reference to certain provisions in the revised liquor law), then restaurant licensees should be able to legally deliver wine to the home,” says Ned Sokoloff, CEO and founder of the Specialty Group, a firm that, among other things, helps Pittsburgh-area restaurants and bars navigate the intricacies of alcohol licensing.

“It’s common sense that there should be no difference between delivering wine and delivering beer,” says Sokoloff, referring to the March 2015 decision by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to allow home delivery of beer under certain conditions.

Those conditions include on-premises purchase (which can be made over the phone via credit card) from an employee who is 21 years old or older, transportation to the delivery location by registered Transporter-for-Hire licensee and an on-site identification check.

Act 39 imposes similar conditions but there are a few derivations between the two laws, the most notable of which is that a restaurant interested in wine delivery must be Responsible Alcohol Management Program-certified.

That hasn’t stopped a Pittsburgh-area business from moving forward.

Fethi Turan, owner of Giovanni’s Pizza & Pasta in Dormont (and a Speciality Group client), is jumping on the possibility of home wine delivery. According to Sokoloff, Turan has been provisionally granted both the restaurant “Class B” license and the Transport-for-Hire license that will allow for wine delivery. He still needs to obtain RAMP certification, something Sokoloff anticipates should happen in the next few days.  

“It’s great. It’s just great. I’m happy for him and happy that he took some action,” says Sokoloff.

Not so fast.
 


photo via flickr creative commons


“That’s a matter that is under review for consideration by our attorneys and our board. There’s nothing in Act 39 that says it’s illegal, but Act 39 did impose certain conditions that need to be met. We don’t have a determination on that matter yet,” said Elizabeth Brassell, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in a phone interview last week.

In a follow-up email today, Brassall reiterates that there still isn’t a legal progress in place. “Giovanni’s does not have a wine expanded permit, at least not yet,” she writes.

It looks as if it’s just a matter of time, however, before wine from a local restaurant can be delivered to your doorstep.

One Act 39 direct-shipment development already is working: Pennsylvania residents may have up to 36 cases of wine per year delivered to their homes by a PLCB-licensed direct wine shipper, and those wines (so long as they meet the PLCB licensee requirements) need not be wines that are otherwise for sale by the state at either Fine Wine & Good Spirits retail stores or by special order. There currently are 195 licensed direct wine shippers listed on the PLCB website.

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