In a New York Times op-ed, David White accuses Rep. Jason Chaffetz of doing the bidding of the wholesale liquor lobby by introducing "protectionist" legislation that would limit the ability of consumers to buy liquor directly from specialty producers.
Imagine if Texas lawmakers, in a bid to protect mom-and-pop bookstores, barred Amazon.com from shipping into the state. Or if Massachusetts legislators, worried about Boston’s shoe boutiques, prohibited residents from ordering from Zappos.com.
Such moves would infuriate consumers. They might also breach the Constitution’s commerce clause, which limits states from erecting trade barriers against one another. But wine consumers, producers and retailers face such restrictions daily.
Last month, Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, introduced a bill in the House that would allow states to cement such protectionist laws. It should appall wine snobs, beer swillers and even teetotalers. In this case, the law would protect not small stores and liquor producers, but the wholesale liquor lobby.