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(August 8, 2013) A national wine consumer group has slapped Michigan with a grade of "D" for the consumer-friendliness of state laws that reguate the sale and consumption of wine.

In a study released yesterday, The American Wine Consumer Coalition ranked Michigan 35th out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia).

American Wine Consumer CoalitionThe AWCC downgraded Michigan for laws that prohibit retailers from shipping wine to consumers, and prohibit restaurants from letting patrons carry in their own wines, with or without a corkage fee.

Michigan's "ban on allowing consumers to have wine shipped to them from wine retailers severely limits consumers’ access to imported wines, hard to find wines and out of vintage wines," the AWCC report said.

The study evaluated each state's regulations for consumer-friendliness in six areas, listed in decreasing order of importance:

  • Ability to have wine shipped to their home from any winery
  • No State monopoly on the sale of wine
  • Ability to have wine shipped to their home from any wine retailer
  • Ability to purchase wine on Sundays
  • Ability to bring their own wine into a restaurant to drink with their meal
  • Ability to purchase wine in grocery stores

Weighting of the six areas was based on a 2011 survey of 1000 wine consumers.

“Eighty years after the end of Prohibition, consumers in numerous states still live under archaic laws that disregard their interests,” said David White, president of the AWCC. “These laws harm consumers and enrich special-interest groups."

“Fortunately, there are several states—those that received an A+—where consumers can conveniently access the wines they want. These states can and should serve as examples for those that are failing, said White.”

Wine-producing states California, Oregon and Virginia tied for top "A+" scores in the AWCC ranking. Others with "A" grades were Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska New Hampshire, Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia.

Utah, where the state controls wine distribution and prohibits sales on Sunday, was rated as the least wine-friendly state.

The entire report is available on the AWCC website.

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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.