There are more than 7,700 wineries in the United States. Production is at record levels. Prices are skyrocketing, too: As of 2013, the average bottle cost $10.85, up from $9 the previous year.
And while the debate over which state produces the best wine will never end — Is it California, home to nearly half the wineries in the United States? Is it Oregon, with its pinot noirs, or Washington, with its cabernets? — there’s no better state to be a wine drinker, based on price, availability and lenient regulations, than New Hampshire.
New Hampshire is one of six states, plus the District, that scored an A+ on the American Wine Consumer Coalition’s 2013 report card for its liberal regulations. Consumers in those states can have wine shipped to their homes through the mail, bring their favorite bottles to restaurants, and buy wine in specialty shops or grocery stores.
What sets New Hampshire apart from the other top-performing states, however, is its tax regime. It’s the only one of those top-performing states that doesn’t levy a tax on wine. California levies an excise taxe on wine at a relatively puny 20 cents per gallon, while D.C. piles $1.61 per gallon onto the list price.
New Hampshire is one of six states, along with Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming, where the government runs its own liquor stores. But unlike those other states, where government monopoly is a vestige of prohibition, New Hampshire’s state-run liquor stores are more aggressive in their marketing. They even advertise near the state’s border with Massachusetts, luring customers north to buy booze.
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