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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ind. Decisions - Still more on: "Love the wine? You must visit the vine"

The decision of the 7th Circuit August 7th in the case of Baude v. Heath (start here for background) is the subject of a long story today by Supriya Sinhababu in the South Bend Tribune that begins:

When a federal court reinstated the law requiring in-person age verification for Indiana residents purchasing wine last week, winemaker Larry Satek was dismayed, but not surprised.

"This is going to be the fifth major flip in what the rules are in the last three years," said Satek, who serves as president of the Indiana Winegrowers Guild.

He and his wife, Pam, own Satek Winery in Fremont, Ind.

"It makes life quite difficult because customers at this point aren't sure if we can ship anywhere," he said.

A federal judge lifted the face-to-face requirement in August 2007, allowing Indiana customers to fax or mail proof of identification to wineries.

But the U.S. 7th Court of Appeals in Chicago reinstated the regulation, ruling that a lack of age verification in person would give minors easier access to wine. Now Indiana consumers must visit wineries in person to have their identification checked before wine can be shipped to them.

Satek, who ships wine to 11 states, said the changing laws have made reaching Indiana customers more difficult.

He brought up his concern Wednesday when he ran into Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman at the Indiana State Fair.

"One of the things I pointed out to her was that we ship more wine to Michigan most months, more wine to Ohio most months," Satek said. "About half the time we ship more wine to California than we do to Indiana because of the confusion in the law, and somehow that doesn't seem right."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 16, 2008 08:51 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions