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- amshih - 02-12-1999 04:55 PM
Someone I know asked me about solicitations that he gets from wine-of-the-month clubs and other places who ship directly, regardless of the laws. He feels that as long as the stores ship, who cares whether it's technically illegal or not? I wasn't really sure how to answer that because I've wondered the same thing -- why do some sellers ship wine so freely despite what the laws say? Does their "buyer takes responsibility for knowing shipping laws" clause (often in their catalogs) really mean anything? What are the true risks of direct shipping, both to the seller and the customer?
- Jerry D Mead - 02-12-1999 07:04 PM
I tend to agree with your friend. There is almost no risk to the consumer/customer, even though the laws may apply to them as well.
It's sort of like the prostitution laws. They bust the seller (the girl) and let the customer (the john) go free.
The thing is, the states are trying to help its wholesalers protect their middle-tier monopoly, so they want to bust the sellers...they don't want to anger their own citizens. Piss off a few high placed doctors and lawyers by convicting them of a felony for importing a 6-pack of Caymuss SS and they might get mad enough to organize and do something to get rid of the law.
I violate these laws regularly, with apparent impugnity, and encourage others to do the same as widespread disrespect of a law will hasten its demise.
Wine clubs and retailers are more likely to ship to felony states, than are wineries. Wineries are the only one of the three to have a federal license to do business. A felony arrest could be cause for shutting them dowm.
The disclaimer that you take possession of the wine at the time of sale and that the seller is acting on your behalf is a legal ploy which has proven helpful in court defenses when the states do come after the retailers.