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Gavel comes down; grapes walk.

Posted by Stephen Meuse  January 18, 2010 10:16 AM

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gavel.jpgUber-attorney Kenneth Starr couldn't nail Bill and Hillary's hides to the wall in the Whitewater affair, but he may have made a trophy of the Massachusetts three tier system last week - at least when it comes to interstate wine shipments. On Friday, a Federal appeals court brought the gavel down on what has been a long-running dispute between Massachusetts wholesalers eager to restrict direct shipment to consumers and Family Winemakers of California, a group that complained the Massachusetts system was a violation of the U.S. constitution's so-called Commerce Clause (Starr was the legal brain on the winning side in the 2005 Supreme Court case, Granholm & Heald, that set the stage for Friday's decision). 

 You can the full story here and review the decision (if you have the patience) here: wine decision.pdf

"The decision allows access to the whole wine market for Massachusetts consumers," crowed Family Winemakers president Paul Kronenberg. "Protectionist state laws run counter to the concept of free trade within the nation." 

We'll see just how interested Massachusetts wine consumers are in direct shipping when they see the bill for moving a case of wine coast to coast under temperature-controlled conditions all by its onesies.   

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Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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