Supreme Court Strikes Down Direct Shipping Bans on Wine

Yes I’m late to the party but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to say: WOO HOO! While I was out of the country last week, the Supreme Court finally ruled on the case regarding Michigan and New York laws banning the direct shipment of wine from out-of-state wineries, and held that these laws were unconstitutional and amounted to basically a “low level trade war” that was set up to “clearly favor” in-state businesses and tax revenues.

Specifically what the court has ruled is that states may continue to regulate alcohol sales and shipping by wineries (nothing changes for retailers), but they must have the same policies for in-state and out-of-state businesses.

This is clearly good news for wine consumers, and for many small wineries who have difficulty finding distributors that are willing to sell their products in all states. While nothing is going to change overnight, except perhaps in New York and Michigan, this will have some big implications for the wine producing world.

Other blogs with good thoughts on this ruling include:

Michael Stajer on the short term implications of the ruling.

Fermentations on what this means for Direct Shipping.

Professor Stephen Bainbridge on why this makes sense.

Here’s good coverage of the news from Decanter Magazine.