From: weavermt@YAHOO.COM (Tim Weaver)
Subject: Wine Ban Law Ruled Unconstitutional
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 14:57:02 -0800

Argued by IJ's Clint Bollick.  IJ has an office in Phoenix.  Hopefully, we
can get AZ to kill their idiotic law....can't believe my step-mom can't
order me some nice wine.  Protectionism, pure and simple.

- - -

Nov 12, 5:24 PM EST

Wine Ban Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- A law banning out-of-state wineries from directly
shipping their products to New York consumers is unconstitutional, a
federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman made the ruling in a case brought by
Swedenburg Estate Vineyards in Middleburg, Va., a small winery which
produces about 2,500 cases of pinot noir, chardonnay and Riesling

The New York law, similar to laws in 29 other states, requires that
imported liquors be distributed only through licensed wholesalers and
retailers to ensure accountability and responsibility and that taxes are

Brad Maione, a spokesman for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, said
the office had not seen a copy of the ruling and had no comment.

Owner Juanita Swedenburg, reached at her winery by telephone, called the
ruling a "good step."

"We still have such a hodgepodge of laws throughout the country. This is
just one step toward clearing up the entire mess," she said.

Clint Bolick, vice president for the Washington-based Institute of
Justice, which argued the case on behalf of Swedenburg, said it was likely
the U.S. Supreme Court would ultimately have to decide, since two federal
appeals courts - in Chicago and Atlanta - have reached opposite
conclusions on the issue and several other cases are winding their way
through the courts.

Berman found the state law to be discriminatory since New York allows
in-state wineries to ship directly to New York consumers. New York is the
second-largest wine market in the nation, behind California.

"That the New York direct shipping ban on out-of-state wine burdens
interstate commerce and is discriminatory on its face is clear from the
very wording, let alone the impact of the exemptions favoring in-state
wineries," he said.

He added that the New York law "constitutes a cut and dry example of
direct discrimination against interstate commerce."

Berman noted that the state acknowledged during oral arguments that
"economic protectionism was the core purpose of the exceptions."

He rejected arguments that out-of-state wineries could easily get a
license in New York to distribute as either a wholesaler or a winery. The
judge said it would be unreasonable to require an out-of-state winery to
become a resident in order to compete on equal terms.

Berman said he would decide after a legal conference on Dec. 5 what remedy
should result from his ruling.

After the lawsuit was filed on Feb. 3, 2000, others joined it to defend
the law, including four large wholesalers, a union, a package store
association and an activist who has fought in the past to keep liquor and
cigarettes out of Harlem.

They had argued that the law was constitutional and necessary to regulate
liquor sales in New York state, including keeping liquor away from those
under the age of 21.

But Berman wrote that the "important goals of temperance and prohibiting
the sale of wine to minors can be addressed in a nondiscriminatory manner
for out-of-state as well as for in-state wineries which are currently able
to sell their products over the Internet and to ship directly to homes in
New York state."

REBELS, OVERTHROW, I love it when the government reads my email.

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