By Doug Mataconis
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case that could make it easier to order and ship wine from out-of-state retailers.
Later this week, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case involving interstate shipment of wine that could go a long way toward making it easier for Americans to order wines not generally available in their part of the country and have them shipped to their homes:
With just a few clicks on my computer or phone, I can order a rare book from San Francisco, a country ham from Kentucky or a dazzling box of chocolates from Vermont. I can track the shipments to the door of my New York apartment building, where I will receive them, marveling at our effortless access to almost anything we desire.
That modern convenience, however, is denied to wine lovers who live in the 36 states that prohibit interstate shipping from retail wine shops. A consumer in a rural community, for example, with few good wine shops within easy reach, is forbidden to order wine from an out-of-state source with great bottles galore.
This may change in the not-too-distant future. A case to be argued before the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday may decide whether states can prohibit retail wine shops from shipping to consumers in another state. A ruling might even affect access to small-production beers and spirits, although it’s not clear whether it would extend beyond wine.