I haven't seen so much buzzing about a single event in wine since, well... since before I was blogging! For those of you who haven't caught the headlines this week, Free the Grapes.org may have to shut it's doors - or at least close the book on its efforts here in Massachusetts. What's all this hoopla and banter about? The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' wine law that has prohibited 95% of wineries from across the country from shipping directly to the Baystate's consumers has been struck down. I'd be surprised if you aren't as pleased as punch (or a terrific, celebratory glass of bubbly) that this is true.
You may have not known the who, what, where, when and why of it, but if you attempted to buy wine directly from an out-of-state winery, no doubt you quickly learned that this was no easy task. Some wineries would just do it and look the other way. Others were allowed to do so under a little clause that said it was ok to do so if you produced less than 30,000 cases of wine and bought a direct shipping permit. But too many more simply said, "The heck with it! We're a small guy and we've got many more states who are less prohibitive. We're sorry to say, but you can't have that bottle of wine you tasted at our winery - and loved - in the comfort of your own home; we don't have representation in Massachusetts, so you'll just have to remember us fondly." Yep, wineries loved saying that - especially to consumers from a state that ranks 7th nationally for total wine consumption.
The idea behind the law, at least in theory, was to protect MA wineries. Great! Except the reality is you probably aren't buying that much MA wine and I'm guessing you probably drink a decent amount of wine from around the globe, let alone across the country. At the end of the day - Nov. 19, 2008, in fact - such prohibition was ruled discriminatory and unconstitutional.
There are still a bunch more hoops to be jumped through, so if we're enjoying our Wine Club shipments from CA, WA, OR and NY in the next 2 or 3 years, I'll be shocked. But we are on the right path. This adds one more thing to my "To Be Thankful For" list this Thanksgiving!
Have you felt the repercussions of the current law? Do you agree with the latest ruling stating discrimination has been at play?