Michigan sues companies for illegal wine shipments | Business

TRAVERSE CITY – The Michigan Liquor Control Commission confirmed Friday that lawsuits have been filed against companies in West Virginia, California, Oregon and New York in the eastern and western counties of the Michigan federal court.

The lawsuits allege the companies continue to violate Michigan law by illegally shipping alcohol directly to consumers.

“These lawsuits, filed by Attorney General Dana Nessel on behalf of the Commission, serve as an important deterrent against other companies that violate state alcohol laws and endanger the health, safety and wellbeing of Michigan residents,” said Pat Gagliardi, chairman of the MLCC, in a press release .

The lawsuits are against Lambert’s Vintage Wines, LLC. Villa Amorosa d / b / a Castello di Amorosa; Schmidt Family Vineyards, LLC; and Taste Wine, LLC d / b / a Taste Wine Company.

The state sent letters requesting that companies stop and stop importing alcohol into Michigan, the news release said. However, the companies continued to ship to customers in Michigan in violation of both the Michigan Liquor Control Code and the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Michigan law requires beer and wine to be channeled through MLCC-licensed wholesalers for distribution to retail locations. In limited cases, a manufacturer can ship wine directly to consumers, but only if authorized to do so.

According to the press release, unlicensed companies circumvent state laws and illegally import thousands of bottles of wine into Michigan each year. Such illegal shipments can allow minors to obtain lightly alcoholic products, state officials have no effective means of ensuring the safety of imported products, and Michiganders are losing millions in tax revenues, the news release said.

Most shippers, after hearing from Nessel’s office, stopped their illegal activities, either by stopping shipments to Michigan or by obtaining the required liquor license from the MLCC.

“We applaud Attorney General Dana Nessel for her aggressive approach to preventing nongovernmental retailers from illegally shipping wine into Michigan,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association, in a separate press release.

According to the MB & WWA, nearly a third of every bottle of alcohol shipped to Michigan in 2019 was illegally shipped. A total of 2,233,880 bottles of alcohol were shipped to the state in 2019. Of these bottles, 734,365 were illegally shipped.

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