Former Pat Bledsoe seeks change in MA wine law
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe had a new role on Thursday -- registered lobbyist.
After football, Bledsoe became a winemaker. He operates a winery in Washington state. Bledsoe is now urging Massachusetts lawmakers to end a ban on direct wine shipments to consumers because it is preventing him from selling his wine to fans in Massachusetts.
A bill has been filed that would allow licensed out-of-state wine producers and distributors to ship to consumers. Massachusetts is among a handful of states that ban direct shipments. A group representing package stores in Massachusetts opposes the bill, saying consumers can easily purchase wine at their local outlets.
“Tom [Brady] actually bought the wine and then he shipped it to his dad’s house and I think his dad drank all his wine before he got home to California, so we can’t have that,” said Bledsoe.
Bledsoe and those who back the bill said a lot of his fans in the Bay State would like to get the wine online, too.
“He was a superstar here and a big fan base and now he’s in the wine business and he retired from football and he can’t sell a case of wine here and that’s ridiculous,” said Brad Jones, a co-sponsor of the bill.
Bledsoe said the life of a lobbyist and job of a quarterback have some similarities.
“You gotta try and be persuasive and get your point across, so there are some similarities. Not quite as physical, though, which is good,” Bledsoe said.
Critics say Bledsoe’s online wine bill hurts mom and pop liquor stores who get cut out of those sales, but Bledsoe says experience in other states show everyone wins.
“The political process is often times slower than anybody wants it to be. Hopefully we can at least make some noise and draw some attention,” said Bledsoe.