Skip to main content

Should MN wineries have to use mostly MN grapes? This lawsuit argues no

The law right now requires Minnesota wine to be made with a majority of local ingredients.

Minnesota breweries can use ingredients from any state they want.

But that's no the case for local farm wineries. Minnesota state law requires that 50 percent of the grapes used in Minnesota-made wines are grown locally.

Now two Minnesota wineries hope to change that with a federal lawsuit.

Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings and The Next Chapter Winery in New Prague argue that the Minnesota Farm Wineries Act is unconstitutional. They say it violates their right to engage in interstate and foreign commerce, which is in turn hurting their business, a news release from the Institute of Justice Minnesota says.

The problem is wineries are having trouble getting their hands on enough Minnesota-grown grapes to meet demand. Plus, the grapes that are hardy enough to survive Minnesota's cold climate are often too acidic for many wine drinkers.

So in order to make a wine people want to drink their product, wineries are forced to blend the Minnesota-grown grapes with imported grapes, the release says.

Having to do this limits a winery's ability to expand its business and make the broad variety of wines that consumers are looking for, the lawsuit argues.

The Institute for Justice gives the example of Minnesota's booming craft brewing industry, saying the state's largest breweries are successful partly because they aren't restricted to using at least 50 percent of Minnesota-grown hops – and if they were, a lot of popular beer styles and flavors would be "difficult, if not impossible" to produce.

“Minnesota is hurting farm wineries and wine drinkers to illegally prop up the grape industry,” Meagan Forbes, an attorney with the Institute for Justice in Minnesota, said in the release. "Imagine if other states retaliated against Minnesota's protectionism and banned Minnesota products. ... Minnesota's farm economy would collapse."

The Institute for Justice in Minnesota says it's confident in its lawsuit, which lists Mona Dohman, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, as the defendant.

You can read the entire lawsuit here. For more on the issue, click here or check out this editorial Forbes wrote in the Star Tribune.

Next Up

2019_1229_Bears_Home_0831

Ryan Poles picking Chicago creates battle of the rebuilds with Vikings

Both of the Vikings' GM finalists land in the same division looking to return to relevancy.

David Ortiz

Twins congratulate David Ortiz on HOF induction, it ends badly

Twins fans haven't forgotten the biggest mistake in franchise history.

Snowmobile tracks Any Arthur Flickr

Who left the burnt snowmobile on a frozen Minnesota lake?

There wasn't much left beyond the frame and a few other large, metal parts.

T Kline Robbinsdale City Council

Charges: Drunk council member fled police on wrong side of Hwy. 100

The complaint alleges he caused a wrong-way crash, then drove around an officer that tried to stop him.

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_0560

What does the future hold for the Vikings at linebacker?

Anthony Barr is hitting free agency, and Eric Kendricks is approaching age 30

vehicle car

String of vehicle thefts in St. Paul, most left running unattended

The department is urging people not to leave their car running unattended.

kid hospital doctor

Child COVID hospitalizations reach pandemic-high in northern MN

As omicron surges, more kids are ending up in the hospital.

ice fishing close unsplash

'It's disgusting': Anglers dumping sewage on to popular ice fishing lake

A local CO told Bring Me The News it's people in newer, RV-style wheel houses.

Alejandro Rios and Michael Steward

Reward offered for information on 2021 double fatal shooting in St. Paul

It's been a year since Alejandro Rios and Michael Stewart were found dead on the sidewalk.

Related

Should MN wineries have to use mostly MN grapes? This lawsuit argues no

The law right now requires Minnesota wine to be made with a majority of local ingredients.

Selling homemade cookies is not illegal in Wisconsin anymore

A court ruling suddenly changed the rules on home-baked goods.

Selling homemade cookies is not illegal in Wisconsin anymore

A court ruling suddenly changed the rules on home-baked goods.

Subway plans to sue over claims its chicken isn't actually chicken

A Canadian broadcaster claimed Subway's chicken was half soy. Now Subway's fighting back

Subway plans to sue over claims its chicken isn't actually chicken

A Canadian broadcaster claimed Subway's chicken was half soy. Now Subway's fighting back

wine

Judge's ruling gives Minnesota wineries more flexibility in the wines they make

The ruling could be a boon for farm wineries and maybe urban wine bars and cideries.