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Quote of the Day - It is better to hide ignorance, but it is hard to do this when we relax over wine. - Heraclitus

Let The Merlot Flow

In light of today’s Supreme Court decision, wine lovers everywhere are raising their glasses to toast the impending opening of the floodgates of interstate wine shipments. My email box has been continually filling with news and special offers from wineries, retailers, and friends. Many just excited with the possibilities and others looking to ship to the new-promised lands as soon as tomorrow (although I think that may be jumping the gun).

The ruling prohibits from discriminating against out-of-state shipments to consumers. However, the ruling itself does not actually force states to allow out-of-state shipments. It limits itself to preventing states from enforcing different standards between intrastate and interstate shipments. Presumably, a state could choose to ban both types of shipments and be in line with the law. My guess is that the majority of states will elect to open their borders, just as Texas did days ago.

Having worked in the wine business for a small producer, I couldn’t be happier with the Court’s decision. The ugly maze of states in which we could directly ship and those that were verboten was staggering and in a constant state of flux. Hopefully, this ruling will encourage states which have previously forbidden out-of-state shipments to open their borders rather than eliminate intrastate shipping as well. After all, there are now commercial wineries in all 50 states and for many of the smallest wineries in less-known states, if intrastate shipments are prohibited in order to avoid allowing interstate shipments, many of these wineries are likely to fold. It certainly wouldn’t be a popular position in the state house to tell your constituents that they can no longer ship their wines from Long Island to Manhattan just to keep California wineries from shipping their wines directly to Park Avenue.

So tonight, raise your glass, toast the Commerce Clause and think about the wonderful world of wine that the Supreme Court has opened up to you!


Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Monday, May 16, 2005

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