If you get right down to do, seldom in America’s history has there been a true free-market system.
Tariffs, taxes, quotas and other factors all play roles in limiting an absolutely free flow of products and services. Often, there are very good reasons for the restrictions invoked.
In the world of wine, vintners have been fighting for years to be able to sell directly to their customers. It is has been the source of much discussion, frustration and litigation, as every state has its own set of guidelines — some business-friendly, some highly restrictive.
According to Steve Gross of the Wine Institute, it’s now possible for wineries to sell their wares to about 80 percent of the adult population, with this caveat: “if you jump through the right hoops.” Even in states where shipping is allowed, the “compliance” paperwork — not to mention the fees — involved can be so time-consuming and budget-stretching that it doesn’t make sense for mom-and-pop wineries to even try for compliance; they’re better off selling more wine in the states where wine sales are welcomed.
Presently, the states with the most draconian laws when it comes to wine sales are (in alphabetical order) Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Utah. So, if you love wine and live in one of those states, you may want to drop a note to your national and state representatives. If you don’t, the only words they’ll read will be from lobbyists working to keep the restrictive laws in place.