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U.S. Wine Law Changes

Debate is raging in the U.S. right now over two significant wine law issues. The first is an attempt by U.S. wholesalers/distributors to stop the progress in inter-state direct shipping of wine to consumers which was introduced by the Supreme Court decision in Granholm v. Heald. The wholesalers/distributors have introduced a bill (HR5034) that would limit any further extension of these rights and may well roll back the gains made to date. There are good summaries of the issues on the Fermentation Blog and on the Free the Grapes site. The second issue is various privatization initiatives across the country including two in Washington state which will be voted on in November, the most prominent of which would remove the state\’s monopoly on the retail sale of spirits, privatize the wholesale distribution system, and which would also reform various liquor laws. Winery groups in WA state have taken opposing stands on the initiatives for various reasons outlined in this Wines & Vines article.

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