Massachusetts Appeals Court Hears Wine Shipping Capacity Cap Argument

On Nov. 2, 2009, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston heard Tracy Genesen, legal director for the Coalition for Free Trade, present the winery side of the argument in the FWC v. Jenkins lawsuit being appealed by the state. Massachusetts wine consumers were previously the winners in a Nov. 19, 2008 court ruling on FWC v. Jenkins that allowed wineries of all production sizes to ship directly to adult residents in Massachusetts. The decision enjoined the state from enforcing its law that prohibits wineries producing more than 30,000 gallons from shipping if they have wholesaler agreements. Click here to read the text of the 2008 ruling.

Genesen outlined the wine industry’s position in opposition to production capacity caps and the wholesaler exclusion rules in the existing direct-to-consumer wine shipping statutes that are being challenged. The court extended her portion of the argument to allow for a more in-depth exploration of the issues. The industry is waiting for the court’s ruling, which is likely to be delivered in the next three to six months.