Here's an excerpt from the e-mail:
An Official Announcement from Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits
WE ARE SORRY, BUT WE CAN NO LONGER SHIP TO TEXAS
In spite of a recent Supreme Court ruling (Granholm v. Heald) in favor of free trade, the state of Texas has passed new, anti-consumer legislation forbidding out-of-state retailers and auction houses from shipping wine to their customers in Texas.
Sherry-Lehmann has just received a formal cease-and-desist letter from the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission. The letter states that if we continue to ship wine into Texas, we will be subject to criminal prosecution.
This law violates the United State's Supreme Court's ruling that practices permitted for in-state wine businesses must also be extended to out-of-state wine businesses.
It is unconstitutional to permit in-state wine retailers the right to ship wine, but to prohibit the practice for out-of-state retailers.
What a colossal waste of my Texas taxes. Threatening hoidy-toidy, high-end wine retailers who sell what must be miniscule amounts of classified growth Bordeaux and snooty Burgundies to a few Texas connoisseurs is ridiculous.
While Sherry-Lehmann says this is contrary to the US Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Granholm v. Heald, I don't know if that's right. Granholm says that a state can't treat out-of-state wineries worse than in-state wineries by allowing the in-state ones to ship out but not the out-of-state ones to ship in. I don't know if Texas liquor stores can ship out-of-state, so I don't know if Granholm applies to the Texas scheme. Be that as it may, the point is: THIS IS A STUPID RULE. What is the cost to benefit ratio here?? By going after Sherry-Lehmann, and probably others, Texas is essentially saying, "Oh my God, we need to stop this influx of Premier Cru Cotes de Nuits from leading to the decay of the moral fiber of the state! Whatever will we do if too many people get their lips on a glasses of limited production Brunellos or single vineyard "garagiste" Pomerols? Heavens to Betsy!"
Get a grip. Doesn't the state have better ways to spend its money?
(UPDATE): And another thing. Even as protectionism, this fails. I don't order wines from out of state retailers unless I CAN'T get it from the several Houston (and sometimes Austin) retailers I patronize. I mean, why have to pay the expensive additional shipping if you can get it at your local retailers? Extrapolating from my own experience and using common sense, does the sporadic ordering by wine collectors from out-of-state retailers REALLY have any economic effect on Texas wine retailers??? The answer is pretty obviously NO.