Login Here

Federal Judge Denise Page Hood has ordered the state of Michigan to allow wine retailers nationwide to ship directly to state residents.

Hood's ruling, dated September 30, comes from a case filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit that asserts Michigan beverage laws are unconstitutional because they let in-state wine retailers ship to state residents, but don't accord the same right to retailers in other states.

In granting the Plaintiffs' motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Hood ruled that "State regulations such as this are not authorized by the Twenty First Amendment if the regulations create an extra burden on out-of-state wine retailers."

Judge Hood's order specifically bars enforcement of Michigan's current law "which prohibits out-of-state wine retailers from selling, delivering and shipping wine through interstate commerce directly to consumers in Michigan."

Plaintiffs in the case are Siesta Village Market, a Florida wine retailer, and Michigan residents Terry Fowler and Joseph Chess. Defendants are Governor Jennifer Granholm, Attorney General Mike Cox, Liquor Control Commission Chair Nida Samona, and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.

{xtypo_info}READ: Judge Hood's full ruling (will open in new tab or window)
READ: Joel Goldberg's blog post: Don't place your order yet {/xtypo_info}

Judge Hood cited the 2005 Granholm v. Heald  landmark Supreme Court decision, which overturned wine-shipping laws nationwide based on the Constitution's Interstate Commerce clause. That case, which originated with Michigan wine writers Eleanor and Ray Heald, addressed shipping by wineries to consumers. The current case seeks to extend the logic of the Granholm decision to include wine retailers.

An appeal of Judge Hood's decision to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court is likely, along with a request by the State to postpone implementation of her order until the appeal is heard.

Even if the order is not stayed or appealed, implementation could take months. The Granholm decision led to a legislative battle over winery-direct shipping, followed by lengthy administrative delays until the Liquor Control Commission issued regulations to license and tax out-of-state winery shippers.

___________________________________________________________ 

UPDATE: Major online retailer Wine.com announced it will immediately start taking orders to ship wine to Michigan.

"We support free trade and state laws against out-of-state wine retailers are anti-consumer," said Rich Bergsund, Wine.com CEO, in a press release dated October 3.

This action gets the jump on anticipated efforts by state officials to stay implementation of Judge Denise Hood's order that overturned Michigan's ban on wine shipments by out-of-state retailers, pending an appeal. (See full story below)

Wine.com's website now lists Michigan as one of 30 states to which the retailer ships wine. Attempts to reach company officials for comment were not immediately returned. We'll post updates as more information becomes available.

UPDATED: 10/4/08 12:58 PM

___________________________________________________________

UPDATE:  Federal Judge Denise Page Hood, who on September 30 threw out Michigan's prohibition against wine shipments by out-of-state retailers, issued a temporary stay of her ruling to give defendants time to appeal.

The stay remains in effect during the 30 days that the defendants -- Governor Jennifer Granholm, Attorney General Mike Cox, Liquor Control Commission Chair Nida Samona, and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association -- can appeal Judge Hood's original decision. If an appeal is filed, the stay would continue during the appellate process, which could take years.

All parties agreed to the delay, standard procedure when an appeal is likely and the case involves "a longstanding statutory scheme which the State will be enjoined from enforcing" if a stay were not issued.

READ:
Judge Hood's stay order (will open in new tab or window)
UPDATED: 10/9/08 9:30 AM

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Get MichWine Updates!

Receive
Need to Know

CH. MARGAUX: SCREWCAPS BETTER THAN CORK?

Early results from an experiment by Chateau Margaux's Paul Pontallier indicate that screwcaps may age red wine better than natural cork -- plus eliminate any risk of corked bottles, as reported in The Drinks Business. 


ROUGH YEAR FOR MICHIGAN ICE WINE

The 2011-2 mild weather was healthy for Michigan's vineyards, but it's played havoc with state winemakers who leave grapes on the vine in hopes that they'll freeze for the production of icewine, reports AP writer John Flesher.


KIM'S SECRET STASH

Recently-deceased Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was a wine geek (and reputed alcoholic) with a 10,000-bottle cellar, according to ex-Slate wine columnist Mike Steinberger. Kim earlier gave up Hennessy Cognac on doctor's orders.


RISING TEMPS IMPACT WINE REGIONS

Warming climate may help cooler grape-growing regions -- like England -- but could damage places like Napa, writes jounalist John McQuaid in Yale's environmental magazine.


HOW COLD CLIMATE WINE REGIONS SUCCEED

Western Farm Press reports that Cornell Prof Miguel Gomez is studying how smaller wineries can jointly create a successful cool-climate wine region. He'll look at emerging areas in Michigan, New York and Missouri.


NEW YORK WINE - EXCLUSIVELY

Here's one for some Michigan entrepreneur to try! A just-opened Long Island outlet mall store will sell nothing but New York State wines. Starting inventory at Empire State Cellars: 400 labels from 150 wineries.


MICHIGAN: NEW WINE MECCA?

Want a refresher about Michigan wine history and potential? Get a quick two page cheat-sheet by Layne Cameron in Western Farm Press, and make some allowances for the MSU-centricity (the author's employer).


Links to wine news from Michigan and elsewhere. Use the Contact Form to let us know what should be here.

KIM'S SECRET STASH

Recently-deceased Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was a wine geek (and reputed alcoholic) with a 10,000-bottle cellar, according to ex-Slate wine columnist Mike Steinberger. Kim earlier gave up Hennessy Cognac on doctor's orders.


MichWine Poll

My favorite Michigan red wines are made from...







Wineland Weather

Joel's Blog

Most winery owners go out of their way to make tasting room visitors feel welcome. Not Joe Herman at Karma Vista.

As soon as the grapes came in, everyone said 2010 would be a top year -- and they were right. Here's a look at (mostly) new release whites from what many have called Michigan's best-ever vintage.

 

Larry Mawby has never had greater success in 30+ years of Leelanau winemaking. His wines are now sold in ten states -- and it took a healthy dollop of Sex to make it happen.

SMALL DOG, LOUD BARK

Spotted Dog Winery

Saline's tiny Spotted Dog Winery makes kit wines of no great distinction -- but gets more publicity and better distribution than most Michigan wineries its size. The secret: good branding and marketing.

"NO, THANKS" TO JUDGING

thompson-dawson.jpg

New York wine writers Lenn Thompson and Evan Dawson won't judge at wine competitions, and urge other journalists to follow suit. The complaints are valid -- but their prescription doesn't work for states like Michigan.

KNOW A GOOD BYO? PLEASE SHUT UP!

Michigan's consumer-unfriendly laws make most BYO illegal. So publicizing places that quietly allow it doesn't necessarily do them any favors.

BAD PRESS FOR WINE COMPETITIONS

Robert Hodgson
Wine competitions may hate the name Robert Hodgson. He's putting numbers to longtime concerns about judging quality and consistency.

Coenraad Stassen's license plate Mere coincidence that Old Mission's two South African-trained winemakers grabbed all the awards at the Cab Franc Challenge? Maybe not...

As soon as the grapes came in, everyone said 2010 would be a top year -- and they were right. Here's a look at (mostly) new release whites from what many have called Michigan's best-ever vintage.

 

MichWine Classics

Larry Mawby Ode to the Leelanau Winemaking pioneer Larry Mawby pens a poem about his home

Jim LesterThe South Will Rise! Wyncroft's Jim Lester likes his region's future