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Wine Drinkers Face an Uncertain and Precarious Future


Wine Freedom Expanding Membership to Protect Wine Drinkers Rights

(Salem, OR)—American wine drinkers find themselves in what could legitimately be called the “Golden Age of Wine.” The unprecedented selection and diversity of wines available continue to increase. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, in its recent Tennessee Wine v Thomas decision, condemned protectionist state laws that bar consumers from getting at this diversity of wines via retailer direct shipment. However, there looms the real possibility that anti-consumer forces will render this Golden Age of Wine meaningless.

In order for states to come into compliance with the pro-free trade directive of the recent Supreme Court’s Tennessee Wine decision and thereby provide wine consumers with access to the variety of wines now in the American marketplace, many states (upwards of 20 including New York, Illinois, Michigan, California) must remove the protectionist elements of their retailer wine shipping laws.

Anti-Wine Consumer Forces Set to Take Action to Restrict Wine Shipping

A state can accomplish this in one of two ways: 1) Change their law to allow both in-state and out-of-state retailers to ship into their state or 2) shut down all retailer direct shipment, including from their in-state retailers. History tells us that wholesalers and many retailers will attempt to shut down all retailer wine shipments just as they tried to do after the 2005 Granholm v Heald Supreme Court ruling that condemned protectionist anti-shipping laws aimed at wineries.

Wine Freedom is the only wine consumer-focused organization that empowers consumers to resist the coming attempt to shut down consumer access to wine by anti-consumer forces in the wine industry that will seek an end to retailer wine shipping. Wine Freedom is currently undertaking a membership drive to encourage wine drinkers to sign up for its Action Alerts that will inform wine consumers when their state wine shipping laws are in play.

Wine Freedom Undertakes Membership Drive to Combat Anti-Shipping Forces

Free to join, Wine freedom now counts 10,000 wine lovers across the country and in every state who have signed up for Action Alerts and receive regular newsletters outlining victories for free trade in wine as well as developments that threaten consumer access to wine.

Wine lovers wishing to protect their rights to access wine can join the Wine Freedom movement by going to www.winefreedom.org/alert-sign-up-2.

In a 1984-esque fashion, anti-consumer wine wholesalers and many retailers have already made the case that interstate wine retailer shipping is “dangerous” for consumers. Most recently, the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association argued that out-of-state wine retailers are likely to be shipping tainted alcohol, writing:

“‘It harms the consumer as well because you don’t know what you’re actually getting,’ says Nevins. “‘There’s no way to regulate what’s happening with these out-of-state retailers whether they’re shipping counterfeit alcohol, changing labels, whether the product’s been stored correctly.’”

There is no evidence that licensed wine retailers shipping wine across state lines have ever done any of the above.

Terrible Wine Selection Results from Protectionist Wine Shipping Laws

When barred from accessing wines from out-of-state wine stores, a state’s consumers only have access to the pitifully small number of wines the state’s wholesalers think consumers ought to have access to, which is normally no more than 20% of all the wines available in the American marketplace.

Wine Freedom’s mission is to provide consumers with meaningful and impactful ways to influence state lawmakers to look out for the interests of consumers rather than simply the small-minded, protectionist interests of large, multi-billion-dollar wholesalers. In addition to issuing the Action Alerts and news updates, Wine Freedom provides its members with simple, easy and quick ways for wine lovers to contact their state lawmakers wine laws impacting consumer access to wine are in play in state capitols. 

Wine Freedom is supported by consumers, the National Association of Wine Retailers, and other parties who benefit from a well-regulated free market in wine.

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