Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Response from the Ohio Liquor Control Commission

"See you in court!" According to the Associated Press, officials in charge of Ohio Liquor think that the rules regulating shipping wine into Ohio are not discriminatory (neither did New York, Michigan or Virginia) and therefore the recent Supreme Court decision does not apply to Ohio Liquor regulations. Therefore they will be arguing their case in US District Court shortly.

Currently, residents can have wine shipped into Ohio, if it is not already registered (posted) in the State, and after filling out some paperwork and paying sales and excise taxes. Few wineries list Ohio as an approved state to ship to and so will not ship into the state. In-state wineries can ship without the paperwork and their wines are registered in the state. Sounds like two sets of rules to me!

Also, strangely residents and retail stores can't ship out of the state. UPS and FedEx will not take shipments if you tell them there is wine in the box. So forget about sending a Christmas gift to your brother in Denver, or a birthday gift to your sister in Florida! I am not sure of the rationale here.

Two Indiana wineries and some Ohio wine lovers are working on the US District Court case to open up the doors to outside wineries. They predict victory, but if you want to help, write your legislators and go to Free The Grapes. I would guess that Ohio is a year or two away from having open shipping rules. The US District Court must decide that the rules are discriminatory, then the State will have to issue new regulations. Better make that three to four years!


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