In a decision that could be a huge boon for Washington state’s wine industry, the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down laws in New York and Michigan banning direct shipments of wine from out of state. The 5-4 decision called such laws discriminatory and anticompetitive, and puts in doubt similar laws in 22 other states.
With over 300 wineries, 30,000 acres of vines, and $628 million in retail sales, Washington state now ranks as the number two producer of premium wines nationally, second only to California. The industry creates 11,250 full time jobs, and has an estimated $2.4 billion impact on Washington state’s economy.
The decision could be particularly advantageous to the state’s many small wineries, who do not have the distribution prowess of their larger competitors. Without an interstate ban on direct shipments, a functioning website and some good reviews could open the market to higher margin, direct, national sales.