May 16, 2005

Raise a Glass

by peterb

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated antediluvian and protectionist state laws that prevent direct sale and shipment of wine by out-of-state vendors to consumers, at least in states which allow direct shipment by in-state wineries.

The case, Granholm v. Heald, can be obtained online. It remains to be seen whether this will have any practical impact in Pennsylvania, since I'm uncertain if PA allows direct shipment of wine by in-state wineries to consumers.

But I'm in favor of anything which has even a chance of damaging the quite useless and offensive State monopoly on alcohol sales. Here's a toast to the hope that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is suddenly about to earn much less revenue.

Update: Eagle-eyed reader Julie Watt, webmaster of, points to two articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette indicating that the rulings do affect Pennsylvania, and that the LCB is currently mulling over forbidding in-state wineries to ship to avoid having to allow consumers to have more choice. Read the articles here and here. Pennsylvania: cutting off its nose to spite its face since 1883.

Posted by peterb at May 16, 2005 10:45 PM | Bookmark This

PA does allow direct shipment of wine from in-state wineries, so it's affected by this ruling.

However, given the general climate of stupidity in this state's liquor laws, I wouldn't bet money that the state will go the "everyone can do direct shipment" route instead of the "nobody can do direct shipment" one.

We can hope, though. There's an awful lot of wine I'd love to be able to mail order without going through the completely insane state store order process.

Posted by Nat at May 16, 2005 10:58 PM

Apparently, as we type, the PA LCB is reviewing the Supreme Court's decision:

"Supreme Court Decision. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected limits on wine-shipping, overturning laws in Michigan and New York that restricted out-of-state winemakers from shipping directly to customers but permitted in-state wineries to do so. The PLCB Office of Chief Counsel is currently reviewing the Court's opinion to determine the impact the decision will have in Pennsylvania." (Source:

Here's to hoping the "impact" will amount to a meteorite strike on Pennsylvania's myopic wine policies.

Posted by Tom Moertel at May 17, 2005 12:29 AM

Read an article this morning and the Liquor Control Board is leaning toward making in-state wineries jump through the same hoops they put out-of-staters through, thereby getting around the ruling, which stated that states couldn't have different rules for in- than out-of-state. :( I'm just hoping they don't succeed.

Posted by Julie Watt at May 17, 2005 08:45 AM

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