Breaking Borders

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By Robert Farmer

Anyone who’s bought wine online understands that the laws governing the distribution and taxation of wine between states and across borders can be somewhat Byzantine. Unnecessarily so, in my estimation. Without sounding like a Boston Tea Party-like revolutionary, it shouldn’t be so hard for wine distributors to reach out to customers and ship to them the products those customers select and purchase. In other words, the government should butt the hell out.

By the way, if you haven’t purchased wine online, I highly recommend it. Shopping for and finding the wines you like best is a great online experience. And when your wine arrives at your doorstep promptly and neatly packaged, well, it’s like a little bit of Christmas any time you want it. There’s a new website and blog that aims to keep interested online wine buyers apprised of the issues surrounding online wine shopping and shipping. It’s called the Wine Without Borders blog (, launched by the Specialty Wine Retailers Association as an effort to keep consumers informed and up to date on this ever-changing and often contentious issue. SWRA is an organization advocating non-discriminatory wine shipping laws throughout the nation. Their website is a catalog of information and documentation related to the direct shipping issue—you can also sign up for a weekly newsletter which, unlike wine in many states, can be sent directly to you without any government interference. Because an informed shopper is a successful shopper, this site should be bookmarked by any online wine buyer—do your part and help break those borders!

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