In response to alarm by restaurateurs over planned changes to the way restaurants order wines that are not available in state stores, State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D., Philadelphia/Delaware) has announced his intention to introduce legislation that would direct the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to implement a direct-delivery system for restaurant licensees by March 1.

Under changes being implemented Sunday, Oct. 1, by the PLCB, licensees will have to pay in advance for their special orders but will still have to pick up them at a state store, where they will no longer be able to inspect the orders to see if it is what they wanted. Restaurants dread what they described as a convoluted seven-step process to return unwanted items and get their money back.

The PLCB said the imminent changes are a step toward direct shipments to licensees, but that suppliers first need to ensure that orders are more accurate than they have been historically.

"Our back rooms that are supposed to be supply areas for our retail business are being taken up with these special orders that either weren't intended to be ordered or weren't desired by the ultimate customers," PLCB spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said.