Free My WIne!

I have ordered wine from before: what was the harm (other than slightly more expensive bottles than my local wine shop)? Now that I think of it, I've ordered a case or two from other wineries as well, without the universe collapsing. Why was this stupid bill even brought up? Shouldn't trade barriers between states be lowered, not increased? Apparently, Wisconsin is considering a similar bill: what is wrong with these people?

Ode to Dionysus

Gapers Block Presents: Drive-Thru, a Chicago food site:
HB429, a bill that prohibits Illinois residents from purchasing or receiving wine from out-of-state retailers, passed both houses yesterday. While it mostly affects high level collectors who purchase Bordeaux futures and very rare wines from stores in New York and California, casual wine lovers will feel the pain as well. Most California “wine of the month club” memberships will now be illegal. A thoughtful friend in another state can no longer go to their local wine store and send you a gift of Champagne for your birthday. Dean and Deluca may not include a bottle of wine in the gift baskets you order for an Illinois client. All of your wine purchases must now be made through an Illinois retailer.

Don't the Illinois legislators have anything better to do with their time? Isn't there a budget crisis??!! [rhetorical question, there is a threat of an Illinois government shut down]

Wait, didn't the Supreme Court ruling of a couple years ago preclude these barriers?

Wine lovers may buy directly from out-of-state vineyards, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, striking down laws banning a practice that has flourished because of the Internet and growing popularity of winery tours.

The 5-4 decision overturns laws in New York and Michigan that make it a crime to buy wine directly from vineyards in another state. In all, 24 states have laws that bar interstate shipments.

Free The Grapes has a petition - I'm signing it on principle.

A wine war is pitting consumers - who want the option to purchase wines directly from wineries and retailers - against the wine wholesaler cartel, who are threatening consumers and winemakers with jail time if they bypass the middlemen.


Despite widespread support for legal, regulated direct-to-consumer wine shipments by the U.S. Supreme Court, Federal Trade Commission and state alcohol regulators, consumers in 17 states are still prohibited by state law from ordering and receiving wines directly from out-of-state wineries. Additionally, only a dozen states allow shipments to consumers from out-of-state retailers. We believe that consumers, not wine wholesaler middlemen, should determine which wines they can enjoy and how they purchase them, by Internet, telephone or newsletter. Model direct shipping legislation is working successfully in many states, providing additional tax revenues, preventing underage access, and satisfying consumer demand in a dynamic marketplace. Contact your state legislators today and urge them to oppose archaic, protectionist prohibitions on interstate wine shipments, and to support positive legislation that serves consumers, state governments and regulatory agencies. Simply type in your home zip code above and follow the simple instructions. Thank you for helping us Free the Grapes! Tell other friends to help Free the Grapes! by joining our email list!

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Cafe Bernard

I sent a letter with the assistance of Free the Grapes to, Rickey R. Hendon (D-IL 5th) and Arthur L. Turner (D-IL 9th), saying:

As an adult voter and enthusiastic wine drinker, I strongly encourage you to support my ability to purchase the wines I want, in the manner of my choosing. This is the modern computer age, trade barriers between states should be lowered, not raised to support oligarchic wine wholesalers.

The wine wholesaler cartel misleads legislators by making unfounded, hypothetical claims that direct shipping increases underage access. Without credible evidence, the wholesalers' motivation is purely to strengthen their state-sanctioned monopolies in wine wholesaling. The U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Trade Commission, in addition to sworn testimony by state alcohol regulators, have all debunked this red herring.

In a 5-4 decision, U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May 2005 that it is unconstitutional for states to allow their wineries and retailers to ship to in-state consumers and deny that same privilege to out-of-state companies.

Please let me know where you stand on this important consumer rights issue.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on August 12, 2007 10:49 PM.

Plastic bags are killing us was the previous entry in this blog.

Free My Wine, redux is the next entry in this blog.

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