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New wine case possible for US Supreme Court

•  Law Center     updated  2010/12/03 09:58

The US Supreme Court, which five years ago struck down laws preventing wine makers in one state from selling directly to customers living in another, could be poised to dip its collective toe into the wine vat again.

The top US court will soon decide whether to hear a challenge to a Texas law which says that wine retailers are not allowed to engage in cross-border commerce with individual consumers -- even if wine producers are.

The issue is being brought to the high court by those who argue that consumers have the right to buy the wine of their choosing even if it comes from an out-of-state merchant.

Tom Wark, executive director of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA), said there are 37 states with such laws on the books similar to the one his group is fighting in Texas.

"If I can't find the wine that I want in my local store, I can go online and probably find that wine being sold from somewhere in another state, but I can't have it shipped to me," Wark told AFP.

He said his group -- founded under the banner "wine without borders" -- is hoping that the Supreme Court will make a similar finding to one it reached in a celebrated 2005 case that overturned state liquor laws which gave preferential treatment to in-state wineries.

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