Fine Whine and Wholesale Lies


When the Supreme Court struck down barriers on direct interstate (and consequently most online) wine sales, wholesalers warned that hordes of 15-year-olds would rush to their laptops, place orders with their favorite small vineyards, and funnel cases of pinot noir with their friends. A year later, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America has commissioned a survey to assess the damage. Behold our lost generation of would-be Robert Parkers:

A year after the Supreme Court made it easier for wineries to ship products to customers in a different state, a new survey indicates that teens haven't necessarily rushed to use the Internet to buy alcohol, as critics of the court's decision have feared.

The survey by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) in Northbrook, Ill., found that 2% of youths ages 14-20 reported having purchased alcohol online, and that 12% reported having a friend who had ordered alcohol online.

Concerned yet? Not even the Office of National Drug Control Policy can muster up a proper alarmist statement. Meanwhile, the group that commissioned the survey heroically attempts to wring some shock value out of the whole thing:

Juanita Duggan of the wholesalers group called the survey results "shocking" and said she expects the number of teens ordering alcohol online to rise. "This is new, hard evidence that should really shake up this debate about direct sales."

Reason's Jacob Sullum has been on top of wine protectionism—and the Institute for Justice's long, ultimately successful fight to free the vineyards—for years: Check it out here, here, and here.

NEXT: Calcutta: Cutting Edge, Except for the Rickshaws

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  1. Is that *the* Juanita? You know, the twunt that used to troll this blog?

  2. Haven’t seen Juanita on Hit and Run in a while. Guess she parlayed her prohibitionist attitude into a day job.

  3. Now if only we can get rid of those bullshit excise taxes! It is really hard to have a 1000 bottle micro-vinyard with the amount of taxes that are levied.

  4. That 2% is within the margin of error. If you ask a teenager if he or she has done something naughty in an anonymous survey, they will say “Yes I have”. What’s irresponsible is reminding said teenagers that this might even be possible.

  5. That’s about 10x the rate of meth use by the closest demographic measured by the NSDUH.

    Yes, online wine ordering is clearly an epidemic.

  6. wow

    nearly half a million underage youths ordering alcohol on-line

  7. Can you buy Boones Farm, MD20/20 and Sangria on-line?
    I never met a teen who wanted anything more sophisticated than that.

  8. So, the teens who drink, but don’t buy online must be getting booze from liqour stores. The solution is clear: We must act immediately to ban liqour stores! You know, for the children.

  9. I thought the teenagers were all too busy meeting perverts on myspace to be ordering wine on the internet.

    Or was that last week? You’ll have to excuse me. I’m old and I have trouble keeping up with the latest trends.

  10. “Hey guys, do you want to take this $20 we pooled and order a nice California merlot, which will arrive in a week or so, or give Jimmy’s older brother the money to go get us two cases of beer?”

  11. I’m no parenting expert or child psychologist, but it seems to me, after decades of observation and some experience in being a kid, that the greatest danger to children are. . .other children. So when we do things “for the children” we are empowering the very group that is most dangerous to our children.

    See what I mean?

  12. Juanita Duggan of the wholesalers group called the survey results “shocking” and said she expects the number of teens ordering alcohol online to rise.

    There are so many reasons why this never happen.

    In order to make purchases off the internet, one needs an address to ship to, correct? What parent is going to accept packages for their child without questioning the conents? This same kind of parent would purchase alcohol for their child anyway.

    And how many 14 year olds have credit cards?

    Besides, asking an older friend to just walk into the grocery and buy it is clearly much easier and more convenient.

  13. PL- Well, there you are, then. The answer is clear. We must ban children. You know, for the children.

  14. Number 6,

    Right. Though not all children, of course. Just other people’s.

  15. I missed the announcement last year. Here’s to another freedom reclaimed. Thank you activist judges.

    Now whose arm do I twist so that I can run a backyard still? I’d like to have something to do with my homebrew batches that don’t turn out.

  16. I note that (at least in the condensed version here) when asked if they had a friend who’d ordered alcohol online, they didn’t ask how old that friend was. If they were over 21 and ordering for themselves or other over-21s, nothing untoward at all was happening. Lovely spinning of legal conduct to imply illegality there.

  17. Guess she parlayed her prohibitionist attitude into a day job.

    Hopefully not.

  18. Number 6,

    Right. Though not all children, of course. Just other people’s.

    Taggart: I got it.
    Hedley Lamarr: What?
    Taggart: Let’s kill every first born male child in Rock Ridge.
    Hedley Lamarr: Nah, too Jewish.

  19. If only you could order vodka online… I need some good stuff for my pasta recipe and it’s a pain in the ass to find a liquor store.

  20. Poodle Dog,
    You’re not serious, right?
    Where do you live that you have trouble finding a liquor store? Dry county?
    You can order booze online. I’ve ordered hard to find tequilas before. No problems, other than having to wait a week to enjoy it.

  21. Teens today have it too easy. Meeting and talking to girls, porn and now booze all easily done online from the comfort of your room. When I was a teen all those things took real effort and occasionally even a little ingenuity. It just isn’t fair I tell ya! ­čÖé

  22. Teens today have it too easy.
    hah! I bet you had to walk up hill…both ways…to get to and from the neighborhood liquor store that was selling to minors!

  23. lunchstealer,

    That Mel Brooks. Such a visionary.

  24. …and the Institute for Justice’s long, ultimately successful fight to free the vineyards

    Ah! A libertarian victory just ripe for celebrating.

  25. Paging The Wine Commonsewer! Paging The Wine Commonsewer!

  26. Any statistic which lumps 18, 19, and 20 year olds with “youths” is obviously bullshit.

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