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Winemakers challenging Minnesota law that limits what grapes they can use

March 14, 2019 06:54 PM

Two Minnesota winemakers are challenging a state law over the grapes they can use to make their products.

Nan Bailly and Timothy Tulloch were back in appeals court on Thursday fighting the regulations, after their lawsuit was dismissed last year.

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Under state law, winemakers must use a majority of grapes from Minnesota. But, the winemakers say it's just too limiting to produce a good product and be able to grow their business.

"If the State of Minnesota is going to tell me that I have to make my wines from Minnesota grapes, I'm going to tell you that that's a hardship, that I actually can't accomplish and succeed as a commercial business," said Bailly, owner of Alexis Bailly Vineyard. "The fact that we don't require our local breweries to grow their own hops and grains seems, to me, an unfair practice."

The vineyards are being represented by the Institute for Justice, and are fighting for the court to rule the Minnesota law unconstitutional.

"The farms want to supplement the grapes they grow with grapes elsewhere," said Anthony Sanders with the Institute for Justice. "In fact, under the law, you don't have to grow any grapes, but you have to use a majority of grapes from inside Minnesota. That's a protectionist law."

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