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D.C. And Virginia Are Tops For Oenophiles, Maryland Not So Much

Fine wines are easy to come by in D.C. and Virginia, but less so in Maryland.
Fine wines are easy to come by in D.C. and Virginia, but less so in Maryland.

There's little better in life than a glass of fine wine, and for oenophiles, D.C. and Virginia are great places to be. Maryland, less so.

A report from the American Wine Consumer Coalition puts both D.C. and Virginia at the top of its list in terms of how easily wine-lovers can purchase their favorite bottles, while Maryland comes in far further down the list. According to the group, the patchwork of state laws governing everything from direct shipment of wines to Sunday sales can make purchasing wines a dream—or a disaster—depending on where you are.

"Nearly every state imposes restrictions of one sort or another that deprive wine consumers of access to the wines they want or deprive them of simple conveniences where consumption of wine is concerned," says the report. "Too often today restrictive laws concerning the direct shipment of wine, the ability to purchase wine in grocery stores, Sunday sales of alcohol, bringing a bottle of wine from ones own collection into a restaurant and poor access to products due to state monopolies on wine sales all hamper consumer enjoyment of wine."

The group  gave D.C. an A+ and a top rank, calling it a "promised land for wine lovers," noting that local oenophiles face few restrictions in purchasing wines and are allowed to bring their own bottles with them to their favorite restaurant. (Today a new regulation lifting the $25 cap on corkage fees in D.C. restaurants goes into effect.)

Virginia, which boasts a growing wine industry, is similarly friendly to consumers and also garnered an A+ grade. Five other states rank alongside D.C. and Virginia at the top of the group's list.

Maryland, though, is lambasted for prohibiting the sale of wines in grocery stores and via direct shipment from wine retailers, earning it a D+. "Maryland ranks near the bottom of the list for wine consumer friendliness due primarily to onerous laws related to access to wine," says the report.


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