***IMPORTANT NOTICE TO OUR VALUED
comply with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Granholm case the
legislature must amend the Liquor Code. For those of you who are
unfamiliar, in the Granholm case, the United States Supreme Court held
that it is unconstitutional to prohibit shipment of wine direct to the
consumer across state lines. In essence it is discriminatory to
prohibit a winery from New York to ship wine to a customer in Pennsylvania
when a Pennsylvania winery can ship to customers in Pennsylvania.
Therefore, state legislatures across the United States are now grappling
with amendments to their state Liquor Codes so as to comply with the
Supreme Court ruling.
is the case with the Pennsylvania legislature. The Bill includes a
number of amendments to the present Pennsylvania Liquor Code that could be
potentially devastating to the Pennsylvania Wine Industry. A few of
the key provisions include:
- Prohibition of direct shipment to
customers (no direct shipment or delivery to licensees or
non-licensees unless done through the state store system)
- Dropping the size of a “limited
winery” (limiting the ability of wineries to grow)
- Prohibition of co-op satellites with
other wineries (Prohibiting two or more small wineries to band
together to open up satellite stores as a means for new avenues to
sell their product)
upon reading the bill, one may think, “How can the State prohibit
wineries from shipping direct to the consumer when the Supreme Court found
the practice to be unconstitutional?”. Good question. The
answer is that the Supreme Court did not find it unconstitutional to
prohibit direct shipment. The Supreme Court held only that it is
discriminatory to allow preferences to in state wineries that are not
enjoyed by out of state wineries. One solution to that problem is to
prohibit shipment direct to consumers all together. This is a
practice called “leveling down” and it is already happening in some
plain truth is that the Pennsylvania Wine Industry is being threatened.
Large liquor wholesalers are trying to seize the moment by persuading
state legislatures to “level down” so that they will be the only
avenue through which wineries can sell their product. What do the
wholesalers have on their side? Money, time, and influence.
Wholesalers do not invest a dime into production, equipment, labor, or
agriculture. They just buy and sell product as a commodity.
They are not invested in the growth of an industry.
There are currently 111 wineries in Pennsylvania, the vast majority
of which are small, family owned farm wineries that will be the most
severely hit by this piece of legislation.
is why we need your help. We ask that you contact your local
congressperson and voice your opposition to House Bill 2450. In this
day and age it may seem futile to call your representative but it truly
makes a difference. If you are not sure who you legislator is please
go to www.legis.state.pa.us
and find them. We will need all the help we can get.