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Direct Shipping Timeline


Dana Nigro
Posted: May 16, 2005

  • 1919: States ratify 18th Amendment, outlawing manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages

  • 1920: Prohibition takes effect

  • 1933: Congress passes 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition

  • 1985: California becomes first reciprocal shipping state

  • 1996: Kentucky becomes first state to pass law making it a felony to ship wine directly to consumers; group of California vintners boycotts the state

  • 1997: Felony laws take effect in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina
    October 1997: Louisiana becomes first state to allow "limited direct shipping"; law requires shippers to get a license and pay taxes

  • July 1998: New Hampshire becomes the first "control state" to legalize shipping directly to consumers

  • August 1998: Indiana passes a felony
    shipping law; 13 Indiana residents file first consumer lawsuit challenging a state's ban

  • April 1999: Texas wine-lovers file second federal lawsuit to challenge state's shipping ban

  • June 1999: Maryland becomes a felony state

  • December 1999: U.S. District Court judge overturns Indiana's shipping ban

  • February 2000: U.S. District Court judge rules Texas' ban is unconstitutional

  • May 2000: Georgia governor signs bill allowing limited shipping, but retaining felony penalties

  • September 2000: U.S. Court of Appeals reverses Indiana decision, upholds state's shipping ban

  • October 2000: U.S. Congress passes 21st Amendment Enforcement Act, giving states more power to prosecute illegal shippers from out-of-state; President Clinton signs it

  • 2001: U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Indiana case; U.S. District Court judges dismiss lawsuit in Florida, uphold Michigan's shipping ban

  • April 2002: U.S. District Court judges overturn shipping bans in Virginia and North Carolina

  • July 2002: U.S. District Court judge rules that Texas' new shipping laws are unconstitutional

  • December 2002: Federal judge rules that New York can't enforce its interstate wine-shipping ban

  • March 2003: Kenneth Starr joins direct-shipping fight

  • June 2003: South Carolina allows wine shipments to consumers

  • July 2003: North Carolina allows direct shiping of wine

  • July 2003: Hawaii expands wine shipping

  • August 2003: Appeals court nixes Michigan's wine-shipping ban

  • February 2004: Appeals court upholds New York's wine-shipping ban

  • December 2004: Supreme Court hears direct-shipping case

  • April 2005: Texas legislature passes bill allowing wineries to ship to consumers

  • May 2005: Supreme Court overturns wine-shipping bans

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