HB429, a bill that prohibits Illinois residents from purchasing or receiving wine from out of state retailers passed both houses yesterday. While it mostly affects high level collectors who purchase Bordeaux futures and very rare wines from stores in New York and California, casual wine lovers will feel the pain as well. Most California “wine of the month club” memberships will now be illegal. A thoughtful friend in another state can no longer go to their local wine store and send you a gift of Champagne for your birthday. Dean and Deluca may not include a bottle of wine in the gift baskets you order for an Illinois client. All of your wine purchases must now be made through an Illinois retailer, with a small provision allowed for folks to buy less than twelve cases a year, directly from an out of state winery.
There is some talk of this decision being overturned. It could possibly be in violation of the US Supreme Court ruling on Granholm vs. Heald in 2005. The high court ruled that a state must allow wineries from all 50 states to ship to their residents or prohibit their residents from receiving wine in the mail from any winery in any locale. Previously, New York and Michigan laws allowed wineries within their state to ship to residents, but no shipments were allowed from wineries out of state. The big 9 found this unconstitutional.
So what’s an angry wine lover to do? Visit FreeTheGrapes to read up on the latest news and use their site to contact your legislators.