Wine state laws

Wine is food, cornerstone of civilization for millennia, central part of religious celebrations from time out of memory, component of diets science asserts help people live longer, happier lives. And a beverage state legislatures feel compelled to mess with because that’s what state legislatures do.

America’s hangover from Prohibition lingers. Organized crime is one product of the effort of some Americans to prohibit fellow Americans from enjoying what they enjoy. A patchwork of irrational state laws is another Prohibition vestige vexing vino lovers.

The American Wine Consumer Coalition surveyed thousands of wine buyers to rank states on such measures as winery shipping, state monopolies, retail shipping, Sunday wine sales, ability to bring your wine into restaurants, and selling wine in grocery stores.

No surprise: California is “most consumer-friendly state in the nation where wine is concerned.” That California makes 90 percent of American wine had something to do with this, but give left coast credit.

Good news: Texas is not among the bottom feeders. Texas got a B-, which ranks it comfortably in the top tier. Texas was marked down for limitations on buying wine directly from out-of-state wineries. Contact your legislator.

Nine states earned an A; 14 scored a Texas B. A sobering 28 got a C grade or worse (it adds to 51 because of the District of Columbia).

Worst states for wine consumers, earning an F: Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Indiana, Colorado.

You can read the report at

Tasting notes:

• Lindeman’s Bin 50 Shiraz 2012. Plum, spice, berry, oak hint; certainly no epic wine, but consistently superb value for price; second bottle winner. $4.50

• Alamos Malbec Mendoza 2012. Medium body, juicy, lively acidity, firm tannins; raspberry, blackberry; another well-crafted Alamos value. $10
• Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2009. Herbal nose; earth, dried berry, oak; full, soft mouth; big, dry tannin—decant helps; screams for pairing with thick steak. $45

Last round: A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine, except on a day without sunshine you can still drink wine.