For Immediate Release February 04, 2020

Retailer Association Applauds Introduction of Bill to Allow Rhode Island Wine Shipments

—National Association of Wine Retailers supports Senator Adam Satchell’s bill (S2097) to allow wine shipments to Rhode Island consumers as well as a recently filed federal lawsuit challenging the law banning wine shipments from out-of-state wine stores—

(Providence RI)—The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR), along with wine and free trade-loving Rhode Islanders, applaud the introduction of Senate Bill 2097, which proposes to legalize wine shipments to Rhode Islanders from out-of-state wine stores and wine clubs. Sponsored by Senator Adam Satchell, SB 2097 comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed in Rhode Island Federal Court challenging the state’s protectionist and unconstitutional ban on shipments of wine to Rhode Islanders.

Senator Satchell’s wine shipping bill, if it were to become law, would provide Rhode Islanders with exponentially more choices in wine, while at the same time regulating shipments from out-of-state retailers in a way that ensures Rhode Island taxes are paid to the state, prevents minors’ accessing the wine through adult signature requirements and by limiting the amount an out-of-state wine store may ship to a Rhode Island resident.

“Senator Satchell’s attempt to bring free trade in wine to Rhode Island consumers has been thwarted every year by the state’s wholesale middlemen who simply want protection from competition no matter how much it harms the state’s consumers,” said Tom Wark, executive director of the National Association of Wine Retailers. “Passage of S2097 would go a long way toward increasing consumer choice in wine, increasing Rhode Island tax revenue and removing unconstitutional laws.”

NAWR is also supportive of the recently filed federal lawsuit challenging Rhode Island’s ban on shipments from out-of-state wine stores. Anvar v Tanner challenges the state’s violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government, not the states, the right to regulate interstate commerce. The 2005 Granholm v Heald Supreme Court decision combined with last year’s Supreme Court decision in Tennessee Wine v Thomas makes clear that states may not enact protectionist laws that discriminate against out-of-state wine retailers exactly as does Rhode Island’s current ban on wine shipped from out-of-state retailers.

“Middleman wholesalers have a long tradition of rigging the marketplace to their advantage, noted Wark. “Our hope is that with Senator Satchell’s advocacy for Rhode Island consumers and well regulated free trade in wine, along with the federal lawsuit, Rhode Islanders will soon come out from under the grip of the state’s protectionist-minded alcohol middlemen.”

About The National Association of Wine Retailers
NAWR is an association of independent fine wine retailers located across the United States. NAWR’s mission is to represent its members by promoting a fair playing field for retailer wine sales through advocacy efforts including education, legislation, and litigation. For More Information see


Tom Wark, Executive Director
National Association of Wine Retailers
(971-332-5057 • [email protected]