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Getting your wine shipped to Texas just got easier

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 commentator

Dallas, TX –'ve planned a trip to the California wine country. You and your loved ones are excited to bask in the valley of grapes. You've even planned to bring an extra suitcase because that's the only way you'll be able to savor and bring back the magnificent new tastes you've experienced. Guess what? You can leave the bag at home. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Middays.

Finally, someone, some very smart federal judge in Houston, ruled the wine-by-mail ban unconstitutional. See, this ban was giving an unfair competitive advantage to in-state firms, illegal restraint of trade. For anyone who has traveled out of state and wanted bottles of wine shipped to their home in Texas, like myself, you've got to be elated. Now up until last year, you couldn't even visit a Texas winery and have your wine shipped. But that changed last year and Texas wineries could now ship anywhere in Texas via phone and or the internet. But get this, the state kept the ban on out-of-state wine being shipped into Texas.

You should also know that Texas is not the only state that has taken this ban to court and won. According to the June issue of Wine Spectator, two similar bans of interstate shipments were ruled unconstitutional by federal courts in Virginia and North Carolina. New York State is pending. Dana Nigro, news editor for Wine Spectator, told me that Texas will now need to change some laws. She explained the goal of consumer groups and wineries is to bring this issue to the Supreme Court. It will need to be challenged in some state appeals court before the Supreme will consider hearing the case.

Now Indiana's appeal court did uphold the ban but as Ms Nigro clarified, Indiana was the first case and was presented strictly by the consumer. No wineries were involved to illustrate the economic effect the ban had on their businesses.

So Randy Yarbrough with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission just called me back and confirmed that though Judge Harmon made it clear that the Texas Legislature will have to deal with this in January. In the meantime, you may call your favorite California winery and get that wine shipped to Texas. For KERA Marketplace Midday, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 P.M.