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New legislation could halt direct selling in the US

A bill that could stop wineries from selling direct to consumers if it goes through is being opposed by wine producers and Congressmen who represent California's key wine districts. The bill is being backed by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), a lobby for distributors.

At the end of Prohibition in 1933 the Constitution's 21st Amendment gave each state full control over regulating alcohol inside its borders. But the Commerce Clause gave Congress the power to regulate commerce between the states and in 2005 a ruling was made that each state must allow out of state wineries to ship directly to customers if their own state wineries did the same. These sales by-pass the regulatory three-tier System under which producers must sell to middlemen, who sell to retailers. In the words of the WSWA, the aim of the new legislation is to ensure that states retain their constitutional power to regulate the distribution of alcoholic beverages and are able to fend off litigation, which serves to destabilize or destroy that authority.