Minnesota wineries can now use out-of-state grapes and that’s good for consumers

According to the Star Tribune, just recently, a federal court ruled against a Minnesota law requiring wineries to use 51 percent homegrown grapes in their wine. For supporters of economic freedom and some wineries, this is a huge win.

However, some wineries are worried about the implications of the law. As reported by the Mankato Free Press,

Ray Winter worries that a federal court ruling handed down this week will weaken the integrity of Minnesota’s craft winery business

“It doesn’t help the Minnesota wine industry,” said Winter, owner of Indian Island Winery.


“Now they can use all their out-of-state grapes and pass them off as Minnesota wines.”

Winter has always used 100% Minnesota grapes — those coming from his family’s large vineyard and those they buy from other Minnesota vineyards — and he said that won’t change.


He said he hopes the change doesn’t hurt all of the small vineyards that have started up in recent years to support wineries. Those vineyards now face the prospect of wineries buying more out-of-state, often cheaper, grapes

It is not surprising that some wineries feel threatened by this law. This is a law that hinders choice for winemakers and forces them to buy from Minnesota grape growers even if they could buy cheaper and better grapes from elsewhere. But if Minnesotan vineyards want to stay in business they should not rely on protectionist policies like these.

All they need to do is provide good business to their customers. It is as simple as that.

Protectionist policies raise prices for consumers and businesses. Not to mention that they are bad for the entire economy. They have no place in a free market system.