“I am not an Animal…I Am a Wine Retailer!!”

A lawsuit was filed today in Texas claiming the state’s prohibition against consumers having wine shipped to them from out of state retailers is unconstitutional. This would be the case because Texas wine lovers are allowed to have wine shipped to them from in-state retailers.

The recently formed Specialty Wine Retailers Association is behind the lawsuit and Ken Starr’s name is on the lawsuit. It’s bound to get attention for this reason alone.

It’s hard to imagine on what grounds anyone would oppose the ability of Texas consumers to purchase wine from an out-of-state retailer. They already have the right to buy wine and have it shipped to them if the retailer is located in Texas as well as the right to purchase and have wine shipped to them from out of state wineries. it seems likely that some Texas retailers, purely out of self interest, would oppose the law not wanting to subject themselves to competition. And I suppose wholesalers might oppose the law too in the interest of….well, in the interest of keeping as many sales of wine in Texas going through their own hands.

However, that boat seems have have sailed already given that the State’s legislature voted to allow direct shipments of wine from wineries across the country.

The interesting thing here is that allowing consumers to purchase wine from out-of-state retailers is probably a far more important right for wine lovers to have; more important than being able to have wineries ship them wine. Wine lovers are able to find a broader selection for retailers across the country than they do from wineries.

It will be interesting to see how Texas responds to the suit, if they choose to fight it vigorously and, if they do, upon what grounds. Some people who have read last year’s Supreme Court decision says, ""states may not enact laws that burden out-of-state producers or
shippers simply to give a competitive advantage to in-state businesses," have argued that this decision does not apply to retailers, but only to wineries. That’s highly doubtful.

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