State Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers) met with former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe at the State House Thursday to discuss legislation that would allow consumers to buy wine online from vineyards all over the country.
Bledsoe also met with state Rep. Brad Jones (R-North Reading) and Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop). Speliotis and Jones are lead sponsors of a bill that would replace a ban on shipments to consumers' homes, provided vineyards meet certain production requirements.
"As the owner of a winery in his hometown of Walla Walla, Wash., Bledsoe is a strong supporter of the legislation," Speliotis said in announcing the meeting. Speliotis also represents West Peabody and part of Middleton.
On Thursday, Bledsoe tweeted: "First day as an official lobbyist. Wish me luck. Can't wait to be able to ship wine to some great fans in MA," and added the hashtag #freethegrape.
If the legislation becomes law, Massachusetts would be one of the last states to allow the online purchase of specialty wines, Speliotis said.
Bledsoe spoke to reporters outside the State House later in the day, saying the legislation is a matter of fairness and explained more about his lobbying efforts.
The Boston Herald reports that the existing ban was struck down as unconstitutional by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals and Massachusetts is one of only 11 states that restricts direct mail wine sales.
The bill is before the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. A hearing has yet to be scheduled.