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Federal court lifts Michigan ban on out-of-state wine shipments

shelf of wine bottles
Flickr user Geoffrey Fairchild

It's about to get much easier for Michigan consumers to receive their favorite wines on their doorstep.

A recent federal court ruling has lifted a statewide ban on shipments from out-of-state wine retailers.

Tom Wark is with the National Association of Wine Retailers. He said the ban was imposed as a way to protect local wholesalers and retailers from competition. But he doesn't think this decision will have a negative impact on either group.

"The vast majority of people who buy wine at retail buy it from local stores because that's convenient. You know, 98% of all wine is bought locally," Wark said.

Wark says the decision will benefit collectors of rare, imported wines, or those interested in joining "Wine-of-the-Month" clubs.

"This is a real big win for Michigan consumers. And it's a win for free trade, too," he said.

Wark said the court found the ban violated the Commerce Clause, which allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.

He also said lawmakers need to draft legislation that would require out-of-state retailers to get a permit requiring them to remit taxes to Michigan, and submit reports on what they ship to the state.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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