Home Industry News Releases Wine Consumers to Fund Supreme Court Brief on Wine Shipping Case

Wine Consumers to Fund Supreme Court Brief on Wine Shipping Case


GoFundMe Campaign to Give Wine Consumers Representation in Key Court Case

(Washington, DC)—A GoFundMe Campaign has been launched that gives wine consumers across the country the opportunity to help fund a “Friend of the Court” Amicus brief in the upcoming Byrd v Tennessee Supreme Court case. The amicus brief will be entirely funded by wine consumers and will argue that state-based anti-consumer bans on wine shipping are not only unconstitutional but significantly harm consumers.

The wine consumer GoFundMe campaign is accessed at: www.gofundme.com/wine-consumer-supreme-court-brief

Prominent Wine Shipping Experts to Author Amicus Brief for Consumers

Organized by Wine Freedom and the National Association of Wine Retailers, the GoFundMe campaign and the amicus brief that results from it will answer the question wine consumers regularly ask: “How can I help to get rid of these bans on wine shipping.”

The Amicus brief will be written by attorneys Robert Epstein and Professor Alex Tanford, two of the most accomplished 21st Amendment/Commerce Clause attorneys in the country. Epstein and Tanford were intimately involved in bringing and winning the groundbreaking Granholm v Heald Supreme Court case in 2005 that led to numerous states allowing winery-to-consumer shipments. They have filed a number of federal court cases challenging bans on consumers receiving shipments from out-of-state wine retailers and wine-of-the-month clubs, including a recent case in Michigan federal court that determined Michigan’s retailer wine shipping ban was unconstitutional.

“For almost two decades I’ve fielded calls and emails from consumers asking what they can do to change the protectionist laws that bar them from receiving wine shipments,” said Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers. “Through the ‘Wine Freedom’ website we’ve been able to show them how to contact their lawmakers but this will be the first time wine consumers ever had the opportunity to represent themselves in front of a court collectively and make the case that wine shipping bans are unfair and harmful.” 

Byrd v Tennessee Supreme Court Case Centers on Consumer Wine Shipping

In September, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Byrd v Tennessee. Though the case is directly about durational residency requirements for wine retailers in Tennessee, the case is also very likely to answer whether the same non-discrimination principles outlined in the 2005 Granholm v Heald Supreme Court case also apply to wine retailers. Numerous states have laws in effect that allow consumers to receive wine shipments from in-state wine stores, but bar consumers from receiving wine shipments from out-of-state wine retailers, wine-of-the-month clubs and wine auction houses. As a result, most wine consumers in America have access to only a small minority of the wines available nationwide.

The GoFundMe wine consumer campaign is seeking to raise $5,000 to fund the writing, printing and distribution of the consumer-focused “friend of the Court” brief. The first 50 contributors of $50 or more will see their names attached to the brief and all funders will receive an electronic copy of the final brief. All funds raised will go directly toward the funding of the amicus brief.

“This is the most important Supreme Court case for wine consumers since the 2005 Granholm v Heald Supreme Court decision,” said Wark. “It is the most important moment for wine consumers to step up and play a role in the case that could bring them real wine freedom.”

For more information on Wine Freedom see www.winefreedom.org. For information about the Byrd v. Tennessee Supreme Court case see: nawr.org/issues/tennessee-v-byrd/

About Wine Freedom and National Association of Wine Retailers

Wine Freedom is an affiliate of the National Association of Wine Retailers that provides wine consumers with education and ways of taking action to support their rights. The National Association of Wine Retailers is a national organization of wine stores, online wine retailers, wine-of-the-month clubs, wine auction houses and affiliated businesses that advocate for a modernized national wine retail marketplace.

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