Wine E-Commerce Site Takes On Wine Shipping Laws

Written by Evan Schuman
January 31st, 2008

The laws governing direct interstate shipments from wine retailers to consumers are “confusing, arcane, inconsistent, often ignored and rarely discussed,” according to this wonderful New York Times story about’s undercover operation to protest such laws.

“In what amounted to its own sting operation, last summer ordered wine from several retail merchants and asked them to ship it to states where such shipments are illegal,” the story reported. “Upon receiving the wine, then sent letters to state regulators turning in the transgressors.”


2 Comments | Read Wine E-Commerce Site Takes On Wine Shipping Laws

  1. Michael Says:

    I find this type of vigilante law enforcement despicable. Why not try to make the playing field level rather than turning in your competitors? Was just trying to keep is competitors “under control” and cause them pain?

    Wine shipping has been influenced not by commerce and competition but by special interests for the past two decades (perhaps since repeal of Prohibition in 1933). The wine wholesalers have conducted such self serving “sting” operations to maintain control of distribution and protect their economic interest in the name of “keeping the consumer safe” or preventing minors from purchasing wine by mail or over the internet. How many of us when we were minors would have orderd a couple of bottles of wine for $20 per bottle then waited a couple of weeks to get this wine and consumed it so we could have imbibed alcohol? I know from my own youth that instead of this long and cumbersome process we got a college classmate or some adult to just go into a liquor store and purchase the beverage we desired at the time.

    I think that had a much less altruistic purpose in mind than the ultimate liberalization of wine shipping laws when it conducted its “sting” operation and turned in its competitors.

    Isn’t it a shame we can’t spend our time running our businesses rather than worrying about how to “get our competitiors?

  2. Walter Says:

    While I agree that more time should be spent changing archaic laws, I don’t see’s actions as “getting their competitors”.

    If is trying to follow the laws and, because of it, is getting it’s lunch eaten by the other wine e-tailers that are flaunting the law, then they are justified in trying to level the playing field by exposing those who flaunt the law.


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