Wine and spirits wholesalers in Oklahoma have taken legal action to fight the US Supreme Court decision to allow direct shipping from out-of-state wineries.

Three wholesalers, Central Liquor Co., Jarboe Sales Company and Action Wholesale Liquor Co. have filed a suit in Oklahoma protesting the ruling. The group argues that the US Supreme Court's ruling last May to give the green light to direct wine shipping would lead to "alcohol anarchy".

"If these deregulation efforts were left unchecked, wine suppliers from around the country could then ship their products directly to stores, bars and restaurants across our state," said Bruce Robertson, spokesman for the wholesalers yesterday (8 March).

"The ultimate effect would be to leave Oklahoma incapable of enforcing state law as it does today. The huge increase in the number of Oklahoma businesses importing alcohol directly from out of state would prevent the state from enforcing its alcohol laws."

Oklahoma's state government has regulated the distribution of alcohol since 1959 under a system of licenced wholesalers and retailers. Roberston insisted that system should remain.

"Since it is apparent that the Oklahoma system will need to change in light of the Supreme Court decision, we needed to file suit to ask for a system consistent with our state's history of carefully regulating alcohol," he said.