Face time

August 8, 2008

A panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated the requirement that Hoosiers who want to buy wine by phone or over the Internet have to first make face-to-face contact with the winery, and isn’t it wonderful we’re saving the childfren?

“That’s a great win for Hoosier families concerned about underage kids getting alcohol. We’re very pleased the court did this,” said Jim Purucker, executive director of Wine and Spirits Wholesalers, a defendant in the case.

Of course those wholesalers are in this case because they care so much about the children, not because they have territories carved out and lose a lot of money whent the vinter just sends wine directly to consumers. I believe that. Really, I do.

I don’t know what Indiana’s share of the market is, but three years ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court said preventing out-of-state wineries from selling in a state interferred with interstate commerce, wine was already a $22-billion-a-year business in this country. This ruling may not “restrict” out-of-staters from selling wine here, but it is a tad harder to get to California for that face-to-face.

A commenter on the article I linked to has the best take on the whole thing: “I know when I was in high school I just could not wait for my shipment of estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon to arrive on the front porch from the UPS man.”

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