Wine Retailers Applaud Decision in Rhode Island Case

National Association of Wine Retailers commended the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision that found Rhode Island’s ban on wine shipments from out-of-state wine retailers to be discriminatory, contrary to the earlier ruling of the lower District Court. Moreover, the First Circuit Court of Appeals made the important determination that the state’s simple assertions that its three-tier system and its requirement that retailers must have an in-state presence automatically uphold the health and safety of its residents are faulty. The Court properly understood and stated that ‘concrete evidence’ for these assertions must be presented by the state.

“In remanding the case to the district court for a thorough evaluation of all the evidence concerning the validity of the state’s claims that it must discriminate against interstate commerce in wine in order to protect the health and safety of residents, the Appellate Court opened a path we believe will lead to wine consumers and being able to obtain the wines they want legally.

“This is the third Court of Appeals, following the Seventh Circuit and Sixth Circuit, to insist that the constitutionality of states’ discriminatory wine shipping laws must be determined based on evidence, not assertion or speculation as the states and wholesalers have tried to claim.

“We are confident that the important principles of non-discrimination in state alcohol laws as laid out in the Supreme Court’s Granholm v Heald and Tennessee Wine v Thomas decisions will eventually lead to consumers finally being able to access all the wines they want from retailers across the country, rather than the limited selection currently provided by in-state wholesalers.”

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