Could New Lawsuits Free Interstate Wine Shipments?


There's hope for those who are depressed about the recent crackdown on interstate wine shipments. According to Wine-Searcher, lawsuits have been filed in several states to challenge these restrictive laws:

"Here's some good news for wine lovers in middle America: lawsuits have been filed in three states that could allow wine lovers to order wines from any state. And not just by any law firm – it's the same lawyers who opened up the country to direct shipping from wineries.

Currently residents of only 13 states and the District of Columbia can legally order wine online from an out-of-state retail store. This is a big contrast to ordering from a winery: residents of 42 states can order wine from out-of-state wineries.

Three of the largest states that don't allow interstate wine shipments from retailers are Illinois, Michigan and Missouri. Two Indianapolis-based attorneys, Bob Epstein and Alex Tanford, have filed suits in each of these states challenging the laws. They're looking at filing lawsuits in other states as well, and they hope eventually the US Supreme Court will rule on the issue – which would have an impact nationwide...

Epstein and Tanford were attorneys behind the landmark 2005 US Supreme Court case Granholm v. Heald. In that case, the states of Michigan and Florida had laws that allowed local wineries to ship wine to state residents, but not out-of-state residents. By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that those laws violated the commerce clause of the US constitution by favoring one state's products over another.

Many states immediately changed their laws to allow out-of-state wineries to ship to their residents. But it wasn't clear whether the Granholm decision should apply to retailers, and with the ruling expressly calling the three-tier system 'unquestionably legitimate', states have been much slower to address differential treatment of retailers..."

Read the whole article here.