Since I've become active in the online wine community, I have always been supportive and empathetic towards those poor misfortunate souls who have the bad luck to live in backwards states that won't allow them to receive wine shipments from out of state. This morning, I woke up as one of those people, living in one of those states.
Texas consumers have been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride when it comes to wine shipments. In 2008, a federal district judge ruled in favor of shipping from retailers across state lines. With the rise of online wine retailers, this ruling allowed Texas wine drinkers to gain access to a wider array of wines, often at lower prices. The ruling yesterday overturned this decision, sending Texas consumers back to navigating the byzantine 3-Tier system.
This decision will have varying effects on wine drinkers around the state. Texas has several large metropolitan areas who will probably not feel the sting of this decision as much as some of the smaller areas. I live in Lubbock, a city in West Texas that really does not have a true wine shop. We go to the liquor store to buy wine. Some stores have better wine selections than others, but there are some varietals and types of wines, especially imports, that are simply not available here. I try to shop locally as much as possible, but if I wanted a bottle of Brunello, I had to order it from an online retailer. Now I just have to live with the fact that I won't be able to purchase these wines without driving several hours to one of the metropolitan areas. Lubbock has 200,000 people, so I can only imaging how bad the selection is in some of the even smaller areas.
The lone bright spot in this whole mess, is that wineries are not included in the decision. I will still be able to order wine directly from the producers, which is a good thing. All in all, the result of this decision is still a big #3TierFail for consumers in the state of Texas. Now I can go join my brothers and sisters in sending out messages on Twitter, urging my more fortunate wino friends to support direct shipping in my state. Keep the faith!