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Consumer Group Gives Indiana ‘F’ For Winery Laws

A report from the American Wine Coalition gave Indiana an "F" for its availability of wine.

grape

Photo: Bill Shaw/WTIU News

Indiana wineries cannot sell directly to retailers and retailers cannot sell wine on Sundays.

Indiana is being noted as one of the worst states in the country to find a bottle of wine.

The American Wine Consumers Coalition released a report this month comparing wine consumption convenience state by state and  Indiana received an F, ranking it 41st, in the nation.

The results were based on a survey of six issues voted most concerning to wine lovers. Indiana failed three: wineries can’t sell directly to retailers; Hoosiers can’t bring their own bottles to restaurants; and Hoosiers can’t purchase wine on Sundays unless it’s directly from an Indiana winery.

Butler winery owner Jim Butler says Indiana’s laws restrict small wineries’ ability to compete.

For very small wineries, the right to sell to the grocery store or restaurant directly across the street, if you can’t do that directly and have to go through a middle man then it’s really difficult to make it worth your while economically,” Butler says.

Judy Hawkins, who was tasting wine at Butler Winery on Tuesday, says she has a hard time entertaining when visitors come from out of town and don’t realize alcohol sales are for the most part – prohibited on Sundays.

“That can be frustrating. Especially when you have friends, as we do, from Illinois that come over and forget that,” she says.

A study committee this summer is considering a measure that would allow Indiana wineries to sell directly to retailers.

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