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Amazon, Wine.com Partnership Get Court Boost

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-16

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The Supreme Court ruled that states may not pass laws making it a crime for wineries to ship directly to consumers.

In a boost for wine aficionados previously banned from purchasing wine online, the highest court in the country called state bans on wine shipments anti-competitive and discriminatory.

In a press release, Wine.com noted on what the ruling means and doesn't mean.

"There is a widespread misunderstanding of the issues at hand here," said George Garrick, CEO of San Francisco-based Wine.com. "These cases will not result in a free-for-all for retailers to ship direct to consumers who order via phone or the Internet.

"In fact this is not about retailers at all. State laws governing retailers are different than those governing wineries. The strict state-by-state regulations on retailer direct shipments will remain in effect regardless of the rulings."

Earlier in May, the online wine retailer linked with Amazon.com in a direct link relationship. Amazon.com visitors clicking on a Wine link in the site's Gourmet Foods section get redirected to Wine.com's site.

Wine.com has not yet updated their site to comment on this ruling; a number of states where wine may be legally shipped appear on its customer care page. As noted previously, the ruling has more of an effect on wineries in the first place.

One area where states would be concerned would be on the financial side. State governments enrich themselves handsomely from tax revenue on alcohol sales. Their concerns about tax regulation and collection, not to mention the prevention of underage sales, will have to be addressed.

Wineries won't be selling directly to states in the immediate future.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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