—National Association of Wine Retailers Looks To
End Discriminatory Texas Wine Shipping Laws—
(Sacramento, CALIF—August 10, 2010) National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) announced today that plaintiffs have appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the long running wine retailer discrimination case, Siesta Village Market v. Steen. The appeal asks for a re‐hearing of the case by all the judges on the Court (en banc). This is the second such appeal in the case that concerns the constitutionality of a Texas law that bans out‐of‐state retailers from shipping wine to Texas consumers.
NAWR supports a full court review of the recently issued decision by a panel of three judges that allows Texas to ban shipments from out‐of‐state wine retailers, while allowing in‐state wine retailers, in‐state wineries and out‐of‐state wineries to ship using exactly the same carriers. This discrimination against out‐of‐state retailers keeps them from the Texas market, reduces consumer choice, increases costs for Texas consumers, and prevents wine‐lovers from purchasing many specialty wines they seek, if they are not among the limited selection carried by Texas wholesalers
Lawsuit Challenges Protection For Special Interests
NAWR believes the recent decision is constitutionally flawed and has the potential to confuse courts in future cases, as well as to pose a threat to the fundamental concept of the United States as a single national economic union.
“We believe the stakes in this case are very high,” said Keith Wollenberg, President of the NAWR. “The question is whether or not the U.S. Constitution, free trade, consumers and businesses are to all suffer from the state’s protection of powerful special interests under the guise of protecting the three‐tier system of alcohol distribution.”
The NAWR’s goal is to one day see an environment in which all retailers, including wineries and wine merchants both in‐state and out‐of‐state, are all legally able to provide consumers the wines they seek, while collecting and paying taxes under a non‐discriminatory regulatory regime open to all on an equal basis.