Wine Shipping Pioneer Passes Away

    We are saddened to report the death of Juanita Swedenburg, one of the key figures in the effort to strike down protectionist barriers in the shipment of wines from one state to another by wineries.

      The battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 in favor of a more free flow of wine. Now, just over two years after that landmark decision, one of the key figures in the effort has died. Swedenburg was 82.

      Here are excerpts from a New York Times report on the Supreme

Court ruling, which overturned laws in New York and Michigan that

discriminated against out-of-state wineries that wanted to ship

directly to consumers’ homes:


      Both states permitted in-state wineries to ship in state. Michigan

had banned all shipments from out-o–state wineries; New York allowed

them if the wineries had offices in New York. None ever did, and Mrs.

Swedenburg’s lawsuit argued that, even if they had, the requirement

would amount to a direct prohibition.

      The court’s decision resolved a longstanding conflict between a

state’s right to regulate the sale and use of wines and liquors, as

outlined in the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which ended

Prohibition, and the Constitution’s commerce clause, which limits a

state’s ability to erect economic barriers against goods shipped from

beyond its borders.

      In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said New York

and Michigan were engaging in the kind of protectionism the commerce

clause forbids.

Posted in The Wine Business
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