Untangling the complex world of wine direct shipping and compliance
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Massachusetts Still Question Mark for 30K-Gallon Wineries

February 8th, 2009
By R. Corbin Houchins, Beverage Industry Counsel

On January 16, 2009, the state filed its notice of appeal in the 2006 Granholm-based federal suit, Family Winemakers of California v. Jenkins. The District Court had entered judgment on December 18, 2008, enjoining enforcement of a statute that prevents direct shipment by 30,000-gallon-or-more wineries that sell through Massachusetts wholesalers (a category exclusively out-of-state), while affording smaller wineries, a category for which all in-state wineries qualify, “unfettered access.”

On February 3, 2009 the District Court transmitted the record of the case to the Court of Appeals, the first step in a process that may take a couple of years. The state can move for a stay in the District Court and, if unsuccessful, apply again in the Court of Appeals. Thus, it is unknown at this point whether the appeal will, at least temporarily, reinstate the status quo ante.

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