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  • The North Bay Business Journal, which covers much of the Northern California wine country, reports on an issue that preoccupies much of its constituency – an expected ruling from the US Supreme Court on whether wineries should be able to ship directly to consumers in states where, up until now, such shipments are banned.

    The actual case being decided has to do with bans on direct shipping that are the law in Michigan and New York, though people who favor an end to such bans believe that such a ruling would immediately spread to other states with direct shipping prohibitions. The Supreme Court essentially has to decide what has priority – a state’s right to prohibit such shipments, or the constitutional guarantee of freedom of commerce.

    “A favorable decision to end discrimination promoted by wholesalers would be good for wine consumers, regulators, and tax collectors in states that pass legalized direct shipping and a win for America's small family wineries,” Robert Koch, president and CEO of the Wine Institute, tells the paper.

KC's View:
We are hopeful that the Supreme Court rules in favor of allowing direct shipments; we think it will be healthy for the wine industry as a whole because it will encourage diversity of styles and vintages.

People we’ve spoken to in the industry, though, caution that even if the Supreme Court strikes down direct shipment bans, the world won’t change overnight. States and wineries will have to create mechanisms through which direct shipments can take place.

But it’ll be a trip worth taking.