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Why You Still Can't Buy the Wine You Want

handcuffed.jpgIt's difficult, but if I concentrate hard, I can remember a time when you couldn't order stuff on the Internet. Of course, that was only about 12 years ago, but I'm part of Generation X and we have short attention spans.

I certainly take for granted the fact that most everything I would want to buy for myself is available online, and that includes the wine I drink. I have the dual privilege of living in the state of California, as well as being fully plugged into the Internet (if I could get an implant, I would).

This means that I can, for all intents and purposes, buy pretty much every wine I could want from the comfort of my iPhone. But that is NOT true for a large part of this country. Yet.

The reasons for this are really involved, and are inextricably linked with the bizarre history of the United States, prohibition, and political corruption.

Any modern wine lover who seeks out wines beyond what is available at the nearest wine shop, and even those who are content to shop within walking distance of their home, should have an understanding of just how fucked up the American system that regulates the sale of alcohol actually is.

And by far the best and most complete explanation I have ever read was written a couple of weeks ago by fellow blogger Tom Wark.

I highly recommend -- nay I insist -- that you read his article if you love wine. The more people that understand the sorry state of affairs that we have when it comes to alcohol sales in the U.S. the more people can get on the bandwagon calling for change. There aren't a lot of threats to your ability as a free citizen of this country to enjoy a nice glass of wine, but this system is definitely one of them.

Check it out.

Comments (4)

1WineDude wrote:
07.09.09 at 3:38 AM

You did NOT just write the word "nay" did you?


Bob R. wrote:
07.09.09 at 4:58 AM

There have been a lot of changes/improvements in wine distribution, but there's along way to go, and it's taken a huge effort to even get this far. Having to do it state-by-state, with the 21st Amendment getting in the way, makes it even more difficult. Puritanism and Prohibition are a tough legacy to overcome. My state (Maine) recently made some changes to its very restrictive wine tasting laws, some for the worse. Here's an example of what was added to the law: "Taste-testing activities must be conducted in a manner that precludes the possibility of observation by children."

Tom Wark wrote:
07.09.09 at 9:17 AM


Thank you!

What few people know is that it is illegal for out-of-state wine retailers to ship wine to California. When California changed its shipping laws from reciprocity to permit shipping in 2005, the legislature kept out-of-state retailers under the old reciprocity arrangement. This means that only retailers in Missouri, New Mexico and Iowa may ship wine legally to CA.

Wine Club wrote:
08.02.09 at 10:20 AM

Interesting and I think changes in the alcohol laws is the next big change coming in the industry.

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