Direct-to-Consumer Shipping — Not Quite the Green Light for Every State

Sovos | May 16, 2007

Appellation America released a great article about direct shipping as we celebrate the second anniversary of the Granholm v. Heald ruling. The article was actually written by Eleanor and Ray Heald, the couple that originally sued the state of Michigan to overturn their discriminatory direct shipping laws. The appeal made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the Healds were victorious in the Granholm decision. The article assesses the changes that we have seen in the two years that followed the Supreme Court ruling. Below are a few excerpts from the article:

On May 16, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court in Granholm v. Heald struck down state laws in Michigan and New York that prevented or made it difficult for out-of-state wineries to sell and ship directly to consumers. Small U.S. wineries which comprise the majority of the approximately 4,400 bonded wineries and are found in each of the 50 states reaped benefit of this decision. Yet, the question begs, how much benefit in two years?

“But, for wineries,” Benson notes, “there has certainly been some short-term pain as burdensome legislation is producing time-consuming compliance requirements.”

Indeed, over two years, the winners in Granholm v. Heald are many, despite the end run around the Supreme Court decision being attempted in some states by a new wholesaler approach which is aimed at regaining its cartel dominance and restricting consumer choice in wine purchases.