‘Free the grapes’: House votes to allow bigger bottles of wine


By Jason Delgado
February 13, 2022

Floridians, your wine glass may soon be overflowing.

The House raised a glass Thursday in favor of a bill that would remove wine bottle size limits in Florida.

The bill (HB 6031) would repeal state laws prohibiting the sale of wine in containers larger than one gallon. The House passed the measure almost unanimously with a vote of 117 to 1.

Lighthouse Point Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca is the sponsor of the bill.

“Free the grapes,” LaMarca joked on the floor.

LaMarca urged lawmakers to encourage senators across the aisle to support the measure, and for good reason: The 2022 legislative session marks its fourth attempt with the measure.

Unsuccessful efforts, however, are not for lack of trying. Last year he found success in the House but dried up with lawmakers in the Upper House.

The politics behind the law, LaMarca has previously suggested, is futile.

“There’s no point in good policy to criminalize the sale of wine based on the size of the container,” LaMarca told the regulatory reform subcommittee.

Under current law, selling wine in a container larger than a gallon is a misdemeanor, and even a third-degree felony in certain circumstances.

If the new bill is signed into law, however, the sky’s the limit for wine containers.

The bill would allow wine bottles of all sizes, including the “Nebuchadnezzar”, which holds 15 litres, the volume of 20 standard wine bottles.

It would even allow the mammoth “Sovereign” of 50 liters – the equivalent of 67 bottles of standard wine.

Wine connoisseurs, as well as businesses, would benefit from the proposal, according to a staff analysis.

The bill could meet with more success this time with lawmakers. The last session of lawmakers saw something of a COVID-19-inspired renaissance and revisited several alcohol-related laws.

Among other changes to state law, they championed legislation allowing Floridians to purchase cocktails to go.

The alcohol-related proposal came after the Department for Business and Professional Regulation allowed bars and restaurants to sell take-out drinks amid the pandemic and its subsequent lockdown.

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