Hours before a midnight deadline, the state Senate on Wednesday passed a measure to allow small farmer-wineries to continue to deliver their wine and cider to Massachusetts stores and restaurants.
The legislation was necessary because lawmakers had mistakenly deleted a provision in state law that allowed such deliveries. Without the fix, 34 small farmer wineries could not self-deliver their products to retailers as of Jan. 1. The measure awaits Governor Deval Patrick’s signature.
The scramble to fix the law proved stressful for owners of farmer-wineries, many of whom spent Wednesday calling legislators for updates.
“I’m really glad I can go back to doing what I do, which is making and selling wine,” said Ian Modestow, co-owner of Black Birch Vineyard in Southampton. “This whole affair was unpredictable, and that’s the last thing you want as a business.”
The bill that was passed had changed significantly from earlier drafts, losing a provision that would have capped the number of cases a farmer-winery can deliver to retailers.
“We’ve essentially preserved the status quo,” said Representative John Scibak, a South Hadley Democrat who is cochairman of the House committee that oversees the alcohol industry. “It was not the easiest thing to do at this time of year, with the holidays.” He expects Patrick to sign the legislation.
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