Commentary: Saturday, July 29, 2006 U.S. judge backs ban on wine shipments, by the Associated Press…

ME: My sister Merry’s
view in Georgetown

I just read that Maine judges have decided the following: “A federal magistrate judge is recommending that Maine’s prohibition on direct shipment of wine be upheld, an opinion Maine’s attorney general said Friday will help to keep alcohol out of the hands of youths. U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk’s recommendation now goes to a federal district judge to be finalized.”

Portland Press Herald story

It’s sad that Maine’s judges have bought into the “saving the children” rant. When was the last time a child ordered a bottle of Opus One or Screaming Eagle, when they can just go to their local convenience store and buy beer? We all know their alcohol of choice is beer. Just meander through any college campus on weekends and breathe deeply, as administration looks the other way.

Maine’s citizens’ rights are being taken away by wholesalers… That’s what’s really going on. Wholesalers play an important role in the system; however, good luck trying to buy a wine with limited production that isn’t in your wholesalers sales book; something that you tasted while in California, but can’t get in Maine, because your wholesaler can’t possibly handle any more brands. There’s not enough shelf space for that, and you lose developing your palate beyond their book. (There are currently over 4,000 wine brands in the U.S. How many are on your supermarket’s shelf right now?)

CA: My friend Sally Ottoson’s
view at Pacific Star Winery

After living in Maine for 47 years, I found it easier to move to California. Working with many wineries, now, I get to taste extraordinary wines, and know how sad it is that the system is so antiquated (and Puritanical) in Maine. It needs revisions, so connoisseurs can have more options. Revision is going on in states that need change, and people who enjoy wine have developed a strong voice against the “save the children” routine.

This is NOT one of those times when, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” Maine’s definitely lagging with this one, as the rules are being torn down daily from one state after the other, by those who aren’t buying into the “save the children” mantra, and want to taste some exceptional wines crafted by winemaking masters.