|Date: 10/08/2002 12:04 pm
From: Steven Lance <[redacted]>
Subject: e-commerce wine sales - Public Comment
To whom it may concern,
I am current a resident of Massacusetts, and an avid wine drinker and collector. I was formerly a resident of California, where I enjoyed a robust selection of wines, including many from small wineries that I visisted and came to know well. Many of these wines are unavailable in Massachusetts under the current three-tier distribution system. Additionally, those wines that are available are sold at prices far in excess of the retail cost at the winery, or via the wineries e-commerce or monthly subscription program.
Many of these wineries have attempted to reach new customers and markets, only to be blocked at every turn by the powerful distributors, who dominate wine delivery to the great detriment of consumers. The pinch is also felt by restaurants, who pass the excessive prices and limited selection on to consumers.
As an attorney, I believe the laws restricting shipment fo wine into Massachusetts and other states are a direct infringement of the reverse commerce clause, and are a restraint of trade. There is no reason for such laws, except to protect local distributors and retailers from competition. Children do not like, nor do they drink or order wines and there is no evidence to the contrary. No 18 year old is going to order an expensive bottle of Chateua Montelena Cabernet Savignon. But now neither can I. I can wait to get it at the store, marked up 50%. There are many other wines available only at the winery, or through their mail-order or e-commcerce subscription plans.
Please take all necessary actions to eliminate this illegal restraint of trade.