MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Owners of two Minnesota wineries want to be able to get their grapes from wherever they choose.
A state law on the books since 1980 requires Minnesota wineries to get a majority of their grapes from Minnesota.
The number of Minnesota wineries has doubled in the last five years, according to the Institute for Justice.
The owners of Alexis Bailly Vineyard and The Next Chapter Winery filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday afternoon — with help from IJ — against the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which oversees the rules for production for wineries.
“As a wine maker, I want the freedom to make the wines that I choose,” said owner Nan Bailly.
The civil suit alleges current law violates the constitutional rights of farm wineries to engage in interstate and foreign commerce.
Current law requires Minnesota farm wineries to make sure at least 51 percent of their production comes from Minnesota grapes.
The owners involved in filing the lawsuit do not want and regulations on where their grapes come from.
“My craft as a wine maker is to blend my wine and I’m simply asking for that freedom,” Bailly said.
She says she would love to make all Minnesota wine, but unpredictable cold weather often leaves her behind in overall production.
“This action doesn’t take away from our pride for Minnesota wines,” Bailly said “But, you give me an open book and you wait and see what I can do.”
Minnesota is one of 12 states with such laws for wineries, according to IJ.
Wisconsin and Iowa do not have these types of regulations on grapes.
A spokesperson for DPS said they only enforces the law, and changing state law would require legislative action.
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