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Court Holds Firm on Its Decision to Overturn Michigan's Wine-Shipping Ban

State could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case or pass a new law to allow more direct-to-consumer shipments.

Dana Nigro
Posted: November 6, 2003

Michigan residents are one small step closer to being able to call up out-of-state producers and have wine delivered to their homes. A federal appeals court has denied the state of Michigan's request for a rehearing of a case regarding direct-to-consumer wine shipments.

The state's only remaining option is to petition the U.S. Supreme Court; it has 90 days from the judgment date to submit that request.

On Aug. 28, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Michigan's ban on interstate wine shipments is unconstitutional. Michigan's attorney general promptly asked for a full-court rehearing of the case.

Current Michigan regulations allow in-state wineries to ship to consumers' homes, but make it a misdemeanor for out-of-state wineries to do the same.

Tracy Genesen, legal director for the Coalition for Free Trade, said the nonprofit group hopes that Michigan will let the appeals court decision stand. "We would love to see Michigan become the 27th state to allow for limited, regulated direct shipments," she said.

Following recent court decisions in other similar cases, such as in North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, state legislatures have passed laws allowing interstate direct shipments, rather than fight the issue in Supreme Court or leave it to the courts to determine a regulatory system for them.

The Coalition for Free Trade, a nonprofit legal foundation that assists wineries and consumers with lawsuits on direct shipping, is also involved in pending cases in Arizona, Florida and New York. Other cases have recently been filed in New Jersey and Ohio.

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For a complete overview and past news on the issue of wine shipments, check out our package on The Direct Shipping Battle.

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