The governor of the state of New York, George Pataki, has introduced a bill to allow the direct shipment of wine into and out of the state, which could mean lower prices for California wines for New York consumers, and allow New York's wine producers more freedom in shipping directly to other parts of the US.

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that laws in New York and Michigan were discriminatory because they allowed in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers, but did not allow the same right to out-of-state producers. Many states have repealed their wine shipment restriction legislation.

"The recent US Supreme Court ruling provides us with an excellent opportunity to promote New York's wine industry," said Pataki. "What this legislation will do is ensure that the necessary safeguards and guidelines are in place to ensure that the interstate shipment of wine is done responsibly."

With about 200 wineries, New York is the third largest wine producer in the US behind California and Washington. The state is the second largest consumer of wine after California.

New York's wine producers have been lobbying for liberalisation of the laws for some time. In particular, they have been frustrated by the fact that the many visitors to their wineries from other parts of the US cannot order wine to be shipped to them so therefore can only buy as much as they can take away at the time.