Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hope for PA wine-lovers?

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday about interstate wine sales:
The Supreme Court gave a boost to commerce between wineries and their far-flung customers yesterday, ruling that states that permit in-state vintners to sell directly to consumers may not deny that right to out-of-state producers.
This is significant for anybody unsatisfied with local availability, who might turn to internet purchases or phone/mail orders from their favorite wineries. It seems like good news for anybody who's ever tried to pick something out at the local state licquor stores, but in fact it's not at all clear what the significance of the ruling will be locally, since it covers such a particular situation -- for example, states could decide to ban all direct shipments (as has NJ), demoting their in-state wineries rather than letting in outsiders more freely.

Anyway, several articles on this:
  1. The original article describing the decision (from which the above quote was taken).
  2. An Inquirer reflection on the consequences of the ruling, which doesn't foresee much change. Interestingly, they note that some PA wineries wish that they had more access to markets outside the state.
  3. A Daily News piece that says the state stores will weather this just fine. Sigh.

  4. For a different take, the Wall Street Journal looks at what the ruling may mean for e-commerce, in particular, and for consumer options in a range of fields.
  5. The NYTimes piece runs down the arguments more thoroughly -- what's interesting is the way that the grounds for the decision led to an interesting (and atypical) alignment of the justices, with, for example, Thomas, Stevens, O'Connor, and Rehnquist signing a single dissenting opinion. Should alcohol be treated differently than other commodities in the 21st century? Apparently legal scholars disagree...
(thanks to How Appealing for the last two links)


Blogger Sir Oolius said...

It's not just the selection that makes the PLCB so bad, it's also the prices and the inconvenience of going to stores that have the feel of stalinist-era relics. We usually break the law and head to Delaware for our monthly supply.

I would really love to get wine directly from some of my winemaking friends out in Oregon, though! I hope things will change here soon: could someone please propose a ballot measure to get rid of this arcane way of profiting from the sale of alcohol?

3:36 PM  

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