January 13, 2005

Shipping Cider (and Wine)

There is a case before the Supreme Count regarding Wineries being able to ship to customers in the United States. This is governed by the individual states and there are restrictions on who can get Wine (and Cider) shipped to them. The case is looking to remove this from state control and allow anyone in the USA to be able to visit a Winery (or Cidery) home page, place an order for a case and have that case shipped to them legally. Needless to say, this is something I'm following with interest. WA State allows for shipments as does California. The only states with full reciprocity are California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia — every other state either requires very special situations or flat-out prohibits shipment.

A website that explains this issue (and suggests what you can do to help) is FreeTheGrape

I was reading the excellent Vinography web site today and Alder had an interesting comment and a link to the full nasty story:

Who Wants to Keep You From Ordering Wine?
I've been reluctant to take up the issue of interstate wine shipping because a lot of other people more qualified than I have written about it and because the court is still in deliberations, or whatever they call it. However, to anyone interested in some of the legal battles surrounding this issue, Tom over at Fermentations has highlighted an important and frightening faction that has been at work in the lobbying against opening up direct shipping of alcohol. Take a look at his post “Wine & Hypocrisy…An Ugly Tale.”

Following the link to Tom's story we read:

Wine & Hypocrisy…An Ugly Tale
Since the mid 1990s when the debate over direct shipping began, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association (WSWA) has been the leading advocate to stop any and all direct shipping of wine to consumers. Whether in congress, in the media, in the halls of state legislatures or in the courts, it has been the WSWA that has been trying to stop direct shipping.

It's pretty obvious why they and their membership are against the ability for individuals to purchase wine direct from wineries: They lose money when such transactions occur. Every time I call a winery, bring up an internet site or respond to an offer by a catalog retailer to purchase a bottle of wine, that's a sale that bypasses the wholesaler. WSWA decided to fight early on.

When they decided that this would be the most important fight for the foreseeable future, they had to go out and get a heavy hitter: They got Juanita Duggan.

Tom then follows Ms. Duggan's career and looks at the political contributions her groups have given to various political figures to promote what causes. This article is a real eye-opener and it would be a good idea to visit the FreeTheGrape website to see what can be done. A simple letter to one's representative in Washington can have much greater effect than any online poll…

Posted by DaveH at January 13, 2005 07:05 PM | TrackBack