Is Granholm II Coming to the Wine Industry?

In a post at the blog for the National Association of Wine Retailers I layout the importance of a case that has been appealed to the Supreme Court. Tennesee v. Byrd, if granted cert by the Court, will determine if and under what circumstances states may pass laws that discriminate against out-of-state wine retailers shipping into their state. 

It’s a short read and there is a link to the petition for the Writ of Certiorari. Given the number of cases that have been filed over the years challenging the various state bans on wine shipments from out-of-state retailers (three are currently still in the courts), it’s interesting that it’s actually a residency case that might get the retailer shipping bans in front of the court.

If the case is taken up by the court, the scrambling among industry interests will be fascinating. Retailers who want protection from competition will file amicus briefs with the court telling them the three-tier system must be protected. Retailers who want to serve customers in remote states will file an amicus brief arguing that retailers deserve protection from blatant discrimination the same way wineries possess that protection. Wholesalers will argue in their amicus brief that if bans on retailer shipping are overruled we will likely see thunderbolts from the heavens obliterate the earth and all life on it will perish. Wineries. What will wineries do? Will they argue the Constitution does protect retailers from discrimination or will they argue that “it’s not our fight” in the hopes that the court will protect them from competition?

In any case, none of these things may come to pass if the Court does not choose to take the case. We won’t know if that happens until at least the Fall. However, if you are interested in the background to this case, how it got to where it is and what the implications are, go read the NAWR post.


3 Responses

  1. Patricia - July 24, 2018

    Hmm, hmm? Many questions, I suppose?

    And, although less relevant to North American producers, what will happen after Brexit?

    To be fair, I don’t think wine or even spirits or beer are high on the Brexit agenda, but it will be interesting to find out (later, much later) whether so-called ‘third country’ tariffs stay the same, or not? Will former British Commonwealth countries get preferential treatment? Will former EU partners have preferential treatment?

    Perhaps we should start a betting circle? …or not.

  2. sara - July 25, 2018

    I am very curious to know what will happen in the next months. And I hope the cellars and traditions are really protected.

    sara di maglietta con scritta

  3. VVP (veux, veux-pas) - July 25, 2018


    We don’t see how aggressive invasion of one behemoths (Total Wine) into markets of other states with products already available in those states (Three-tier systems are still unquestionably legitimate), or local fast home deliveries from another global market behemoth (Whole Amazon Foods) of products also available in the state are related to interstate retail shipments of products which are not available in the state.

    These all three are totally different and must be kept separately oranges and apples.

    However, we all remember that the state licenses and regulates retailers in its borders. It is absolutely up to the state to set requirements for license privilege to be granted.

    And again, Tom, the answer for FedEx/UPS question is a must! In for a penny, in for a pound, Tom.

Leave a Reply