Have you heard of Granholm vs. Heald? Prior to this opinion by the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) in Granholm, some states permitted in-state wineries to ship wine directly to consumers but prohibited out-of-state wineries from doing the same. Various states also had what’s known as “reciprocity laws,” which allowed direct shipment from wineries outside the state, but only if the origin state permitted what SCOTUS called “similar nondiscriminatory treatment.”
Consumers in Michigan and out-of-state wineries and consumers in New York sued their respective state officials. They alleged that state laws discriminated against out-of-state wineries in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. After many years in lower courts, the Supreme Court consolidated the cases and agreed to hear it. The Court found the state laws unconstitutional.
The Granholm decision notes that if a state permits shipping of wine from in-state wineries, the state must provide the same privileges to out-of-state wineries. But the case only discussed wineries shipping direct to consumers. It has nothing to do with retailers shipping to consumers in other states.
In the September issue of Beverage Media, I discuss the history of direct-to-consumer shipping and, perhaps more importantly, share how retailers can take advantage of direct to consumer shipping rules. You can read the article by clicking here.