Oregon lawmakers have approved a bill that would more than double the amount of wine that Oregon wineries could ship to customers by mail.
Right now, a winery can send up to two cases of wine per month to a mail-order customer. This measure would increase that to five cases per month.
Supporters said Senate Bill 406 would benefit Oregon's wine industry, which has seen a slowdown in sales during the pandemic. With COVID-19 restrictions easing, more people are scheduling events such as wedding receptions and festivals, and raising the limit on the number of cases per customer could drive additional sales for the state's wineries.
Opponents said the increase would enable people with alcohol addictions to more easily buy large quantities.
But Rep. Marty Wilde, D-Eugene, said people struggling with addiction have many other options. “The major factor in problem drinking is not access to alcohol," he said. "Access, for better or worse in Oregon, is already fairly easy. There are no limits if you go down to the store, and there are no limits (if you go to the) distributor. There are just limits by mail.”
That prompted a rebuttal from Wilde's fellow Democrat, Rep. Tawna Sanchez of Portland.
"When somebody is willing to drink at home, alone, because they don't want people to judge them, or make assumptions about them, they will buy online and in whatever quantity they can get," she said.
The measure passed the Oregon House 39-13 Wednesday and is now on its way to the governor’s desk.