It isn’t often that a Supreme Court ruling gets so much attention. The United States’ highest judicial institution has ruled that New York and Michigan can’t block out-of state vineyards from doing business directly with consumers if they allow in-state winemakers to do so.
Judging from the attention this story is getting, we are on the verge of a wine selling - if not online wine selling - revolution. But don’t get your hopes up. This ruling applies only to vineyards wanting to do direct sales. That is a big deal indeed for small wineries that make a living from selling their bottles in tasting rooms, shipping a box and signing up tourists for tasting clubs. But will it fundamentally change the wine business?
It won't accoriding to the world's largest online wine seller Wine.com.
"This is blown way out of proportion," Russ Fradin, senior vice president of business development for Wine.com told Silicon Valley Sleuth.
"This has nothing to do with us. It's a very overblown media thing," said Fradin.
Online retails can already ship wine across states, provided they have the required licences. A total of 37 states allow for the shipping of wine, the other ones, including Pennsylvania, Alabama and Georgia ban it altogether. The ruling doesn’t change anything about that.
The whole case by itself is as useful for online shoppers as it would be to order your milk directly from the farm. OK, slightly more useful than that, but a far cry from an online wine shopping revolution.
What the ruling does say however is that it’s illegal for any of the 51 states to discriminate between in-state and out-of-state sellers. And in today’s age of ecommerce that might turn out to be a pretty important precedent.
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