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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Lebrun and Will talk wine...

Both Fred Lebrun and George Will devote their Sunday column to the recent Supreme Court decision overturning New York State's ban on the purchasing of out-of-state wine via mail order or internet. Will's column is mostly devoted to questions of jurisprudence. Lebrun's column, however, makes some interesting points about the practical ramifications of the decisions:
The decision did not open the floodgates to direct shipping. Not at all. For the foreseeable future, the practical result of this decision is -- hold that glass -- nothing at all. It is just as illegal today to receive wine from out of state or to mail out of state.

All the court said is we must have a level playing field for in-state and out-of-state wine buying. That is, if a state allows its wineries to ship to its residents,then it must allow the same without penalty to out-of-state residents and from out-of-state wineries. No advantage can be given to homeboys.So the matter is yet to be fought out in the trenches of the 23 individual states in which the decision applies. Frankly, it could go either way. Opening everything up, or shutting everything down, state by state.
Lebrun then goes on to wonder whether New York will go ahead and remove the ban, or apply the shipping ban to in-state wineries. He thinks it could go either way. I doubt it. The New York winery industry is small but growing. Whatever damage will be done to it by out of state competition pales in comparison to the harm that will be done by a ban on direct shipment in state. Lebrun tries to make the case that some powerful interests have imposed such bans in New Jersey and elsewhere, but that is a totally different situation - the wine industry is not nearly as prevalent.

A year from now, we'll all be drinking direct shipment wine from California, mark my words.
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