September 2006 Archives

Grape Expectations

A great article about the U of M's contributions to wineries in Minnesota!

Check out these Minnesotan wineries!

Boalt has a Wine Law Course...

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I may be wrong, but it seems that Boalt is the only law school that has a wine law course. And I'm very impressed with all the information it covers: Prohibition, 21st Amendment jurisprudence to regulatory systems, wine labeling, appellations of origin, land-use planning and international trade policy. Professor Mendelson teaches this course. His bio is very interesting.

It would be interesting to get a panel started at the University of Minnesota Law School. I don't know who to talk with about this first. Perhaps I can talk to Dean Keyes to get things started. I want it to have a very "Minnesota" focus.

My current vision: I see so many student organizations working on this. I can talk with the Business Law Association as there is a definite business aspect to this. I can also get the Real Estate Law Association involved because there are land-use issues that would be of interest to many students. Also - the potential international trade policies/business issues. How exciting to think of exporting Minnesota wine to China! Also, I want to get the U of M Wine Grape Breeding Program involved. So far, the University of Minnesota has four grape varieties: Frontenac, Frontenac gris, La Crescent, and Marquette. It would be interesting to get them to talk about the research and perhaps get the University of Minnesota general counsel involved to discuss the trademarking/licensing components. Also the large community as well. I am sure the Minnesota Grape Grower's Association would have a lot to add. I would have to look up other types of associations as well - I am sure wine shops, wineries, etc. all have legal issues that I could focus on. I think the overall topic should be about Minnesota's growing wine industry. Also it would be great to promote the wine industry to faculty, staff and students. Not everyone knows how innovative Minnesota wine is...I mean c'mon...this stuff grows in the frost! Cooler than "Ah Bing" cherries. I can also bring in the people from the Institute of Justice that helped fight for Minnesotans to be able to advertise and order wines online. I am excited...I'm going to e-mail Dean Keyes straight away.

Advocacy Groups for "Freeing Grapes"

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So confusing...seems that every state has different laws regarding the sale of wine. Some states have reciprocity rules, but you might be breaking the law if you're sending a bottle of wine from California to Alabama.

Our Constitutional Law course has been focusing a lot on state rights vs. federalism. This whole wine law issues seems so "backwards" to me. Why not allow the free trade between different states on wine law? It's not like we're in prohibition anymore. I need to find out, perhaps, what happened in recent history that makes these laws so bizarre. Seems strange that if my best friend in Alabama is getting married that I'd get thrown in jail for sending her a bottle of wine from a local winery in Minnesota. I found all this information on the Wine Institute Home Page. This site is more of an advocacy group for California wines...but the information is relevant to wine connoiseurs in Minnesota...especially for those people in Minnesota who were thinking of shipping wines to their friends.

Another general advocacy group is Free the Grapes. This is neat because they're taking on the perspective that a lot of wholesalers are basically pissed off that with wine being sold directly to the consumer, that they won't be making any money. So many wholesalers have lobbied the states to make it illegal for wineries to sell directly to the consumer. For wine lovers, this is a bad thing...why pay more for your wine than you really should? Again, I have to do a bit more research on this, not sure if this has become more of an issue after the popularity of internet sales.

I also found this on the state auditor's website.. Click on the Liquor Regulation. It is important to note that in general the adjusted wine price in Minnesota is 5-7% higher than in Wisconsin. I guess the next time I visit my dad in Eau Claire, I will be hanging out in the liquor store at Mega Foods comparing wine prices to the Byerly's in my neighborhood.

Okay back to the real world of law...when I have time, I have to do more research and comment. This is an unending nightmare...I keep finding more information I want to read up on and so keep archiving...

Ordering Wine On-Line...good/bad?

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Maybe the ability to order online is a bad thing? Check this article out. Wine sellers can't check how old you are, so underage people are able to purchase liquor over the internet.

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