According to the Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping Report (www.dtcreport.com) 2017, the volume of direct-to-consumer wine deliveries increased by 17.1% in 2016 to 5.02 million cases. In order to reduce this risk, it is increasingly common for distributors to request restrictions for such sales in their territory in the distribution agreement. Since small vineyards are the fastest growing segment of these DtC sales, they should carefully consider the business case for this type of restriction. Relationships between manufacturers and distributors of artisanal beverages begin and grow over time. They grow. They ripen. Sometimes they disintem. They eventually fall into ruin. But even in franchised countries, the distribution contract can play a decisive role, particularly in the termination of the distribution relationship. Even though the rights of a distribution agreement cannot be divided by brands (as in the case of the Maryland Beer Franchise Act), some states may still allow a supplier to enter into contracts with more than one distributor within an area. If this is allowed in its state, it is preferable for a winery to simultaneously conclude all distribution agreements for a given territory and inform each trader.

At least the winery should ensure that the first agreement reached is not exclusively designated. Otherwise, the distributor can expect the agreement to grant him exclusive rights in the territory and could sue the winery for reducing the distributor`s activities if he hired a second distributor in that region. . . .