In the near future, Massachusetts residents may be able to order wine directly from wineries! That is fantastic news and a big reason for wine lovers to rejoice.
Back in 2006, Massachusetts House Bill 4498 bcame law and it placed significant restrictions on direct-to-consumer wine shipments. It permitted a winery that produces less than 30,000 gallons to ship to Massachusetts with the proper permits. Any winery that produced over 30,000 gallons could ship too, unless they already wholesaler representation in the state. That restriction prevented appoximately 95% of all wineries from delivering to Massachusetts.
To combat this new law, suit was filed, Family Winemakers of California v. Jenkins. the primary thrust of the suit was that this law violated the nondiscrimination principle of the Commerce Clause, which prohibits “laws that burden out-of-state producers or shippers simply to give a competitive advantage to in-state businesses.” (U.S. Supreme Court, Granholm v. Heald, May 2005).
Yesterday, the court ruled and declared the law was unconstitutional! Judge Zobel stated: "The legitimacy of the three-tier system cannot provide succor to a statute which allows exceptions to that system which benefit in-state interests." What great news for wine lovers!
It is not fully over yet though as there could be an appeal. But, if there is no appeal, then there will only be a wait while the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission complies with the law. Once that happens, out of state wineries can begin to apply for shipping permits.
I am so excited as I may finally be able to order some excellent wines that I have previously been unable to obtain. Let us hope that everything continues to progress forward.