Direct shipments – Essay – court cases on direct shipment of wine – Brief Article

Philip E. Hiaring

Two federal judges have ruled that legislation preventing direct shipments of wine to consumers is unconstitutional. The states involved are Virginia and North Carolina. The verdicts were delivered in March and April, respectively.

True, the judge in Virginia stayed his ruling since the state chicken-pluckers vowed to appeal.

Perhaps the most important ruling is the next one, in New York State. Oral arguments are scheduled for Apr. 17, and our deadlines don’t allow us to wait–but we’ll follow this, for sure.

The New York State situation, depending on the outcome, could lead to action in the Supreme Court. New York State, interestingly, doesn’t allow interstate shipping, but does OK intrastate shipping. Anyway, we can’t wait to read what Judge Richard Berman decides.

The New York State suit is coordinated by the Coalition for Free Trade (CFT) and the Institute for Justice. The opponents, oddly enough, are mainly wine wholesalers. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

The CFT is involved in six lawsuits on this consumer issue in New York, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Michigan.

This looks like progress on an important issue for wineries and consumers.

Which makes it all the more mystifying why Gerald Boyd of the San Francisco Chronicle supported the parallel market (sic) for imported wines. There is a California bill that would prevent merchants from buying goods from anyone other than the authorized marketer/distributor.

Why would Boyd champion this as a free trade issue? Don’t the brand owners of, say, Pol Roger, have some rights as to how their brand is marketed? And don’t they have the right to know how their product is handled in the sales process, from proper shipping to warehousing to retailing?

Gerry, we like you, but you’re all wet on this one. You bettah off supporting the direct shipments issue. Now there’s a consumer cause for you.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Hiaring Company

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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