US: California amends interstate wine law

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California legislators have approved legislation that will drop restrictions on interstate sales of wine, bringing the state laws into line with a recent US Supreme Court decision.

The bill was passed with overwhelming majorities by both the state Assembly and Senate, and has now been passed to the state governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The new California bill would allow out-of-state wine producers, once they have obtained a US$10 permit, to sell directly to California residents. As it stands, California residents are allowed to buy up to two cases of wine a month from wineries in other states provided that those wineries also allow Californian wine producers to sell directly to their residents.

The new bill both removes the two-case limit and drops the requirement for states to have reciprocal laws allowing direct sales.

A Supreme Court decision on 16 May ruled that states cannot ban, or severely restrict, out-of-state wine sales if they also allow in-state wineries to sell directly to their residents.

Sectors: Wine

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