Established in 2008, the Virginia Winery Distribution Company (VWDC) is a non-profit, non-stock corporation created by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to provide wholesale wine distribution services for Virginia farm wineries. Many wineries in the Commonwealth use VWDC to distribute and personally deliver their wines to local retailers. The VWDC Board is composed of two representatives nominated by the Virginia wine wholesale industry, two representatives nominated by the Virginia wine industry, plus the VDACS Commissioner.
The mandatory use of a wholesale distributor in the Commonwealth had been in place since the end of Prohibition. In 1980, the General Assembly exempted farm wineries from the three-tier system of distribution and allowed them to sell directly to ABC licensees. However, on July 1, 2006, a U.S. district court invalidated Virginia’s distribution laws, and farm wineries were then required to use the three-tier distribution system to sell their wines. The financial impact of this decision was felt by many of the wineries. They were either too small for a wholesale distributor to consider, or the costs were too high. Then, in 2007, the General Assembly approved legislation allowing small farm wineries to distribute as many as 3,000 cases of their own wine each year to stores and restaurants through the state agriculture department. Thus, the VWDC was born and brought wholesale distribution back to the farm wineries. Today, more than 150 farm wineries in the Commonwealth of Virginia are signed on with VWDC and utilize the service monthly.