Where to Get Your Fix of Wine Legalese
There are those of you out there who follow the wrangling, legal and otherwise, in the battle across the country over direct shipment of wine to consumers. The legal issues are pretty arcane. But for those who do take an interest in this the there has been a lot of very interesting movement in the direct shipping legal landscape.
In my estimation no one is covering this issue better than Ship Compliant Blog.
These folks are in the business of advising wineries and others on the issue of direct shipping. They follow the issues closely. They also have at their disposal one of the best wine beverage lawyers, Corbin Houchins, who regularly posts on the blog.
If ShipCompliant takes sides in the direct shipping wars its very subtle. They recently posted an eloquent letter from Doug Caskey, a member of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. In it he makes a spirited defense of the idea of restricting direct shipping of wine only to those wineries that make a very small amount of wine, essentially stopping the majority of CA, WA and OR wineries from shipping into states with such restrictions, and a tactic that is being used in a number of states and being challenged by Family Winemakers of California.
I disagree with Caskey. However, I sure like the fact that he was willing to write it and that Shipcompliant showcased it.
Also currently on the blog is a short article by Houchins entitled "Terroir in Court" in which he explains, "For the first time in post-Granholm legal maneuvering, a court
has recognized the geographic distinctiveness of wine as a factor in
applying the “level playing field” requirement."