Let me start by apologizing to our friends in Austin, in Boston and in Atlanta. And to our pals in Ann Arbor, Missoula and Chicago, not to mention our fans in Miami and Burlington. We can't ship wine to you. Not yet, anyway.
It's been five years since the United States Supreme Court heard and ruled on Granholm v. Heald, a case that deemed Michigan and New York State laws barring out-of-state wineries from selling direct to consumers unconstitutional. The laws, according to the majority opinion, violated the Constitution's Commerce Clause and weren't necessary for the states to prevent underage access. At the time, the case seemed groundbreaking. It looked like the barriers between a consumer and a broader selection of wines were coming down. But another wine shipping law, this time in Texas, has shown that the issue is far from resolved.
A recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the four-year-old suit Wine Country Gift Baskets v. Steen says that the Granholm decision doesn't apply to retailers, like us here at K&L, only to producers. The ruling maintained that the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition but allowed states to determine alcohol laws for themselves, granted Texas the right to discriminate between in-state and out-of-state wine retailers.
The Specialty Wine Retailers Association has asked the Supreme Court to hear the Texas case with the hope that they will not treat retailers, who are engaged in identical retail transactions as producers, differently, and that the principles of the Commerce Clause will be upheld.
To learn more about this and other cases that could be preventing YOU from having access to the wines you want, visit Wine Without Borders, and subscribe to their newsletter.