Winebits 535: Direct shipping, three-tier strikes back, and baseball and wine

direct shippingThis week’s wine news: Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post takes on efforts to halt direct shipping, plus saving the kids from getting drunk and a baseball wine item

Direct shipping clampdown: Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post takes on efforts to stop consumers from ordering wine out of state retailers, describing it as “The three-tier system that favors big producers and big wholesalers is fighting back. …Over time, the way we shop has changed, and wine lovers demand more freedom to buy wines that don’t reach local shelves through the traditional system.” The piece is worth reading – well thought, concise, and sensisible, and even discuss possible solutions.

Striking back: The Texas Package Stores Association, which just had a federal judge call one of its favorite state laws arbitrary and irrational, is taking another tack to keep Walmart out of the state. From a post on its Facebook page: “Since the United Kingdom has deregulated its three-tier system, alcohol-related crime, bar intoxication, and alcohol-related deaths have increased.” Which, of course, has noting to do with the court decision invalidating the law that gave the association’s members a virtual monopoly on spirit sales in Texas. But when in doubt, always bring up public drunkenness and teenagers.

It’s baseball season: So that means it’s time for a baseball and wine post. Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ is my new favorite player – he’s learning about French wine. Plus, he has discussed wine styles with Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who much prefers the kind of wine we don’t like to talk about on the blog. That’s the good news. The bad news? Happ is off to a .125 start, with 10 strikeouts in his first 16 at-bats. Not even first growth Bordeaux can fix that.

One thought on “Winebits 535: Direct shipping, three-tier strikes back, and baseball and wine

  • By Tony Caffrey - Reply

    Not only is the TPSA Facebook post irrelevant to the question facing the court, it’s also a load of [email protected]#$%^&*……..

    I grew up on the other side of the pond, the UK has never had a three tier system to dismantle. Based on 2016 changes, it could if anything be said to be moving closer to a three tier system.

    Since Walmart owns the alcohol licensed ASDA grocery chain in the UK, they should easily be able to rebut the FUD.

    On Online Wine Sales.

    Below is part of a comment I shared with Dave McIntyre following his column.

    In 2017 US filed two complaints with WTO/GATT against British Columbia concerning the treatment of non BC wines in BC grocery stores, and asserted unspecified violations Article III, Paragraph 4, of WTO/GATT rules.
    Both US claims are currently unresolved.

    In January 2018 Australia filed a similar, but broader and deeper claim against Canada and several provinces.
    I’ve read that complaints are usually resolved in favor of the complainant.

    Here’s the thing. With respect to restrictions on US retailer DtC shipping of imported wines only, the claims that the US and Australia have made against Canada and BC, could just as easily be made against the US.

    Specifically, Article III, Paragraph 4, reads:

    4. The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other contracting party shall be accorded treatment no less favourable than that accorded to like products of national origin in respect of all laws, regulations and requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or use. The provisions of this paragraph shall not prevent the application of differential internal transportation charges which are based exclusively on the economic operation of the means of transport and not on the nationality of the product.

    Australia also invoked Article XXIV, Paragraph 12, and this I believe could equally apply to the US Federal Courts, because post Granholm, individual state laws are (unwittingly) causing the US to be in violation of its WTO obligations.

    12. Each contracting party shall take such reasonable measures as may be available to it to ensure observance of the provisions of this Agreement by the regional and local governments and authorities within its territories.

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