By now you may have guessed, Indiana got an F and so did Kentucky. Michigan and Ohio came in with D grades while Illinois scored highest in the Midwest with a C.
The scoring standards were: winery to consumer shipping; retailer to consumer shipping; grocery store wine sales, Sunday wine sales, and bring your own bottle to restaurants laws.
Who scored near the top? Not surprisingly, California led the list followed by Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Indiana is joined by 11 other states on the stinkers list including Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah.
The hodgepodge of laws is largely the embarrassing work of state legislatures. In Indiana, the distributors’ lobby has controlled, or owned, our voting representatives. I’ve heard more than one distributor say there is little problem with allowing direct shipping because that is such a small portion of the wine-buying market. The hypocrisy is extraordinary even for state legislators.
Write the representative in your state. The laws are ridiculous. Consumers can buy almost anything through the mail and have it shipped to their doorstep – clothing, books, medicine, furniture, even pornography. This has nothing to do with under-age drinking – a favorite ploy of the distributors. You have to have a valid credit cart and a person 21 years of age available to sign when delivered to buy wine for direct shipping.
It’s about greed.
Howard Hewitt, Crawfordsville, IN., writes about value wine every other week for 23 Midwestern newspapers. Read his wine blog at www.howardhewitt.net