Calif. Attempt To Set Wine Prices Found Illegal

1980

In California Retail Liquor Dealers Assn. v. Midcal Aluminum, Inc., a wine dealer challenges the state’s system of setting prices for wine merchants, arguing that the pricing scheme violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. California officials argue that the system protects small wine dealers, helps to moderate drinking, and is well within the power to regulate alcohol granted to the states in the 21st Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court finds that while states have wide latitude to regulate alcohol under the 21st Amendment, the amendment cannot be used to justify what amounts to “a private price control system” that violates federal anti-trust laws.