HB429 passes; Illinois wine lovers are screwed

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.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “HB429 passes; Illinois wine lovers are screwed

  1. Um…I don’t necessarily think Illinois wine drinkers are screwed.

    There are more than a few sides to this issue, and one is that local retailers can actually benefit from this. Unless you are one of the few that have allotments from very exclusive producers (and, in that case, I’m sure there’s a way around this law), the local retailer stands to benefit substantially from this law.

    Can’t find a wine you love locally? Ask for it.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been contacted by someone who’s sure that “X wine isn’t available in Chicago”. Guess what? It was, and we happily filled the order…and here’s the kicker….

    Once shipping was factored in, it was about the same price as ordering from the producer as part of a wine of the month club.

    In Chicago, there are scads of distributors, and many small distributors will go out of their way to fill any niche in the market.

    As well, Bordeaux futures are available in Illinois as well.

    I’m pretty sure this law will get overturned.
    I’m -not- a fan of these types of laws in general, and I’m not a huge fan of this law in particular. I think that folks should be able to shop anywhere, any time, from anybody.

    I’m also pretty sure that the impact on the average Illinois wine drinker? Nothing.

    The not-so-average wine drinker? Small.

    I’m not trying to dismiss the legal impact of these changes…nor do I really have a problem with the basic sentiment, I just would like to see this issue discussed a little more thoughtfully.

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