The Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) notes that on Friday, June 3rd, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) took the highly unusual step of issuing a press release announcing it had entered into talks with Fed-Ex Corp. and United Parcel Service concerning its effort, "to thwart the illegal shipment of wine into Texas," and reminding the media, the wine trade and Texas consumers that under Texas law, Texans are unable to obtain numerous wines they desire because Texas law bans out-of-state retailers from shipping wine owned by Texans in other states into Texas in the same way that Texas wineries, Texas wine stores and out-of-state wineries are allowed.
SWRA's core agenda is to assist in the development (already underway in progressive wine states) of a legal, regulated, framework for interstate shipping that allows consumers to access the wines they clearly wish to purchase wherever those wines are located in the United States. SWRA regrets that Texas consumers are denied access to a majority of the wines they can otherwise buy throughout the United States, including older vintages, thousands of imported wines only available through select retail outlets, hard-to-find and collectible wines not available in Texas or direct from wineries, highly coveted wines from the auction market, and wines provided by wine-of-the-month clubs.
SWRA is on the record with its members that shipments to Texas wine consumers by wine retailers of wines owned by Texans outside the state are not authorized and that shipping wine to Texas using either FedEx or UPS violates their agreements as authorized wine shippers, and should under no circumstances be undertaken.
However, SWRA believes that limiting the wine selection and ownership rights of Texas consumers in this way demeans the Texas consumer, violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, prevents the state of Texas from receiving significant amounts of tax revenue and encourages law breaking by Texas citizens.