Grape Barrier Beef

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Yesterday the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases involving bans on direct interstate shipments of wine. The appeals ask the Court to decide whether such bans are an unconstitutional impediment to interstate commerce or a justified precaution against tax evasion and underage drinking, authorized by the 21st Amendment. In one case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld New York's direct shipment ban; in the other, the 6th Circuit overturned Michigan's ban. Eighteen other states have similar laws, which make it difficult to obtain products from small wineries.

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  1. Virginia? Pft, that’s nothing. As a native Pennsylvanian, I’ll just point out that communism still persists in three places in the world: Cuba, North Korea and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

  2. I heard Neal Boortz express similar sentiment about his home state Liquor distributors. This is typical cartel mentality (with the support of the State pols)

  3. There are ways around these bans that don’t involve travel to the winery. Some will make arrangements to have an employee “personally” ship you a smallish number of bottles (most I’ve been able to get is six).

    Yikes! Sounds like I’m talking about dope selling, doesn’t it?

  4. I remember my seventh-grade days, sneaking beers into the alley behind my friend’s house after CCD, chugging ’em down with my pals before anyone caught us. Those alley-way conversations always took the same turn typical of competitive adolescents, “Oh yeah? Well, I’ve heard there’s a vintner out near Eugene that had the most kick-ass cabernet of ’82.”

  5. The FTC has tried to burnish its free-market credentials by issuing reports and comments opposing state wine direct-shipment bans. Now the question is, will the FTC step up to the plate and file an amicus brief against the bans? Because the FTC is represented by the solicitor general, politics puts this decision in doubt. Will the White House want to endorse an anti-“state’s rights”, pro-liquor position in an election year? Not that I’d feel bad for the FTC, mind you, but a decision not to file or to file for the states would be yet another demonstration of the president’s lack of free-market principles.

  6. Man, I haven’t seen a bottle of Ripple in years. I wonder if I can get it through the mail.

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