Why Is Drew Bledsoe Tweeting #freethegrapes?

The former New England Patriots quarterback will join lawmakers on Beacon Hill and lobby for better access to out-of-state wines.

Now that former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe no longer celebrates touchdowns and game victories with New England fans, he wants to give locals another reason to celebrate—by helping them get their hands on out-of-state wine.

The football legend is lobbying at the State House today to garner support for a bill recently filed that would allow constituents from the Commonwealth to order wine online from other states, and have it delivered to their door. Current state laws prohibit people from getting direct wine shipments, despite a ruling by a federal judge in 2010 that called the ban “unconstitutional.” States like Arizona, Kentucky, and Ohio are also on the list of places that won’t allow the door-to-door purchases from online vendors across state lines.

Bledsoe will make an appearance on Beacon Hill alongside State Representative Ted Speliotis, a democrat from Danvers who sponsored the bill that would uncork the current wine-ordering restrictions. Bledsoe, who opened Doubleback Winery in California after his retirement from the NFL, was tweeting about his journey back to Massachusetts, and his scheduled meeting with elected officials.

Bledsoe tried to encourage support from others by using the Twitter hashtag #freethegrapes.

drew bledsoe

If Speliotis’ proposed legislation is passed, vendors outside of the state would be allowed to apply for a direct shipper’s license, and if granted, be authorized to make sales and delivery of wine to people for personal use, but not resale. In January, the bill was sent to the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee for discussion.

“Massachusetts is the largest state for wine consumption that continues to ban direct shipping,” according to members of a group called “Free the Grapes,” a national grassroots coalition of wineries, consumers, and retailers. “Let’s make Massachusetts the 40th state to pass favorable direct shipping legislation. Consumer support for legal, regulated direct shipment will help turn the tide.