Developing: the next shipping battle?

I recently tried to order wine from a San Francisco retailer to my home in New York. They don’t ship to New York

Later, I put a great case of hard-to-find wines in my virtual shopping cart from an Oregon web vendor. Only trouble when it came time to check out: they don’t ship to New York.

I called a retailer in Chicago to put together an order to be sent to me. Sadly, no NY shipping. I queried why and eventually the owner wrote me back that his lawyer advised them not to ship to New York.

I thought that the Supreme Court’s ruling from last year would facilitate New York (and other) wine lovers in having more access to wines. Yes, buying from wineries is great but buying from other stores in other states also has advantages. What’s going on? Please post any insights or experiences in the comments.

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11 Responses to “Developing: the next shipping battle?”


  1. The SCOTUS decision has absolutely nothing to do with retailers, just wineries. And it only means that out-of-state wineries enjoy the same privileges as in-state wineries. If your state doesn’t let in-state wineries ship to consumers, they don’t have to let out-of-state wineries ship, either.


  2. mph- you are correct, the SCOTUS decision had to do with wineries shipping to consumers. That’s why I’m wondering if this is the NEXT battle in wine shipping–out-of-state retailer to consumer.

    Texas seems the worst offender since the ABC passed a law preventing out-of-state retailers from shipping there. I am only now encountering problems in shipping wine to NY.

    I’m wondering if anybody else has had a similar experience in NY or other states.


  3. hi doc – I believe that there are cases active now try to get shipping for retailers opened up. I’m sorry I do not have the info at hand – I seem to recall one in KY or TN. There may be something on the Wine Institute web site or the compliance blog.

    You do have the option to buy from wineries, at least. However, you will also find many wineries still do not ship to NY. The reason being that NY has built a byzantine system of high fees for permits, as well as monthly and quarterly tax reporting, that makes it difficult to justify for small wineries (including mine.) The net effect is that the wall is still there for most of us.

    good luck! – j


  4. Contrary to popular thought the SCOTUS decision is actually making shipping out of state more difficult for wineries. Before there were reciprocal states and that was that – simple. However, the new ruling has caused many states to enact all sorts of regulation and registration requirements that are far more difficult to deal with. The end result of all this is that it is now more difficult to ship directly than it was before. This includes many former simply reciprocal states. Many of these new regulations apply to retailers as well as producers. New York is a pain to get all your paperwork in order for and many people are just taking a pass for now or at least waiting to be sure they are in compliance.


  5. Thanks for those details, Jefe. It is incredible how many technical barriers there are, even to wineries. Oh yeah, and FedEx and UPS too…

    Craig–that’s sad, very sad. But somehow not surprising.

    I just used “the google” and found this recent article by John and Dottie, two NY residents well known in the wine community. They claim “It has never been easier to find a 1974 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon – or have Sutter Home White Zinfandel delivered to your door.” Well, maybe to their door…


  6. There is very definitely a new battle brewing to open up the wine market for retailers. Check out http://www.specialtyretailers.or


  7. This is indeed indicative of the new battle lines in direct shipping–the battle for retailer shipping rights. In Granholm SCOTUS did *not refer exclusively* to winery shipping rights in the actual decision even though the case pertained to wineries. The ‘divide and conquer’ approach will not work, and Texas saw this first hand in April when they recognized there is no constitutional leg to stand on in allowing winery and not retailer wine shipping.

    Visit http://specialtywineretailers.org/ for more details.

    Excerpt: “The Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) exists to create a national marketplace for direct-to-consumer wine sales. SWRA is the only group of retailers seeking a “borderless” wine market so that consumers can purchase and receive wine directly from any retailer in the United States. A national wine market will improve choice, price and convenience, and help consumers make sense of the diversity of American and imported wines. “

    This movement is friendly and cooperative with the winery direct shipping movement. For consumers, see more at http://www.freethegrapes.org/

    –A CA Wine Retailer


  8. Interesting. I’ll hotlink those for reader convenience.

    Free the Grapes
    Specialty Wine Retailers


  9. There is litigation pending in both Texas and California to try to clarify that it is all shippers of wine who must be treated in a non-discriminatory fashion, as stated in the Granholm decision, not just wineries. The wholesalers are fighting a national market tooth and nail, trying to protect their profits in their individual fiefdoms.


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