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Direct Wine Shipment Offers Consumer Choice; Gosch Prefers Prohibition

After rejecting Senate Bill 114 to allow South Dakotans to order wine by mail, the Legislature has decided to conduct a summer study on the topic. AP's Nora Hertel gets some useful information on personal wine imports from nurse anesthetist and wine connoisseur Don Roesler. Roesler and his gassy colleagues (no, really: the article says "a group of Sioux Falls anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists who enjoy drinking wine together" drafted SB 114) say allowing wineries to deliver to our doorsteps should be right up South Dakota's free-market alley:

"It's all about consumer choice. We have a right to choice," said Don Roesler, a nurse anesthetist who is president of the group, South Dakotans for Better Wine Laws [Nora Hertel, "Consumer Choice Driving SD Study on Wine Imports," AP via Seattle PI, 2014.04.26].

Roesler adds that 41 states allow direct wine shipping, and those states' traditional hooch honchos appear to have suffered no calamity. Roesler also tells AP that letting him and his fellow snifter swirlers click and ship their beverages would add $200,000 a year to state coffers.

Enter Speaker Brian Gosch (R-32/Rapid City) to dismiss consumer choice, a revenue boost, and the summer study with incomprehensibility:

Republican Speaker of the House Brian Gosch voted against the study on Wednesday.

"There are some people who are particular about the wine they drink," Gosch said. "I don't know that the state needs to get involved" [Hertel, 2014.04.26].

Um, Brian: the state is involved. The state is banning direct-to-consumer wine shipments and telling consumers that they can buy wine only from the state's favored retailers, which seems to violate both the South Dakota Republican Party's free-market fundamentalism and the Interstate Commerce Clause.

Senate Bill 114 would not have removed state involvement from wine sales. It would simply have allowed out-state wine shippers to ship to South Dakotans under a framework of regulation similar to what governs our in-state vintners and shippers. Why our Republican speaker would prefer outright prohibition over sensible regulation is hard to explain. Quick, pass him a glass of out-state wine, see if we can loosen his lips and get him to explain.


  1. Roger Elgersma 2014.04.27

    It may be that an anethesiologist has a mind set that it is good to numb peoples brains. But to much of a good thing and unregulated numbing of brains to make bad decisions isn ot necessarily a good thing.

  2. Jerry 2014.04.27

    Anyone that would notarize their own signature is subject to a conspiracy theory. So here is mine. The dude got paid off to do this by the spirit industry. Competition of any kind is prohibited by the republicans who run the show. That is also why they try to control the craft beer industry.

  3. Tim 2014.04.27

    I have known Gosch for quite some time, all though he won't remember a peion like me, he can't coach little league either, I have no idea how or why people would elect him to a position of authority.

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.04.27

    With so many important issues requiring attention, it always baffles me that mail order wine kicks up a fuss.

    Gosch's statement about the state being involved in the liquor business is simply absurd. The state is at the heart of it!

  5. Bree S. 2014.04.28

    Tim, he was appointed by Mike Rounds.

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