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Press Release: Resolution to Protect Consumer Choice When Buying Wine Approved by California Legislature, Sent to Congress


Date: 08/02/10

News from the Office of Senator Alex Padilla

Sacramento – Senate Joint Resolution 34 authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), Vice-Chair of the Senate Select Committee on California’s Wine Industry and Senator Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa), Committee Chair, was unanimously approved by the Assembly today. The resolution has already been approved by the Senate. SJR 34 will now be sent to the President, Vice President, United States Senate President Pro Tempore, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senators and Representatives from California.

SJR 34 urges Congress to defeat House Resolution 5034. HR 5034 would restrict legal challenges to state laws governing the interstate shipment of wine, severely limit consumer choice of California wine throughout the nation and restrict market access for California wineries that cannot secure wholesale distribution.

“SJR 34 sends a clear message to Congress that California wants to protect and preserve the ability of wineries to ship wine directly to consumers without discrimination between in-state and out-of-state wine producers,” said Senator Padilla.

Wine has become synonymous with California’s history, culture and identity. The California wine industry produces 90 percent of our nation's wine, employs more than 330,000 Californians and generates over $61.5 billion in economic value for our state through sales as well as travel and tourism.

Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow direct shipping of wine from winegrowers to consumers. To reach consumers in other states, many small California wineries use direct marketing and shipping of their wines throughout the country. In California and across the nation these sales are regulated by laws that comply with Granholm v. Heald. This 2005 landmark US Supreme Court case held that states have authority to regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages and wine, but may not discriminate against out-of-state sellers.

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