ANNAPOLIS—Come June 1, Maryland wineries will be able to sell wine and offer samples at farmers markets listed in the Maryland Department of Agricultures (MDA) Farmers Market Directory, which is available online at http://www.marylandsbest.net/ .
A new Off-Site Permit (which replaces the current Winery Special Event Permit) removes previous county-by-county restrictions and limits on the number of markets (or market days) a winery may attend. Importantly, the new process shifts the permitting burden off of the markets and on to the wineries. Market managers and property owners are no longer required to sign the paperwork for wineries to attend.
Wineries and vineyards are a growing segment of our already diverse agriculture industry, said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. This new permitting process is another way we are working to connect consumers with all Maryland producers.
This permit is a great example of the industry and state working together to promote local wines to customers already focused on buying other locally grown products, said Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association. We hope to turn locavours into locapours via farmers markets.
While the new permit makes it much easier for wineries to sell their products at farmers markets, it does not give them open access. Markets must invite a winery to participate in a market, and wineries may not sell wine by the glass. In addition, local regulations regarding the sale and sampling of wine prevails, even if they are more restrictive than what the new permit allows.
The Maryland Wineries Association is encouraging wineries to apply for the Off-Site Permit before June 1 so they will have it when it becomes effective. In addition, wineries must report to the Comptroller on the 20th of every month which markets they intend to attend the following month.
Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture