I suppose many people living in the Philadelphia metro area have grown accustomed to some of the most ridiculous rules and regulations north of “Bible Belt” blue laws. Specifically, Pennsylvania residents commit a crime when they purchase bottles of liquor, beer or wine in neighboring states NJ, NY and Delaware. Decades after the fall of the “Iron Curtain”, the “Keystone State” still operates its system of liquor sales strictly as a government run business. A desire to taste a special vintage, whether it be a Bordeaux or Rioja Gran Reserva might meet with success if you are willing to jump through hoops similar to a trip to your local motor vehicle agency.
According to this story from a couple days ago, a Pa. attorney and wine connoisseur decided to circumvent state liquor laws to amass quite a wine cellar for himself and a few friends and thus far, let’s just say, he “fought the law and the law won”:
Most people seem to think the state’s antiquated liquor laws are ridiculous, but the law is the law and the attorney had to have known what he was doing was illegal. However, he’s certainly not Al Capone. Over 2,000 bottles worth more than $125,000 works out to about fifty bucks per bottle. Nice pricy vintages but not out of this world if you peruse the wine list at most upscale eateries.
He gets probation with the charges cleared from his record after two years. But then what about all the confiscated contraband? Apparently the bottles get destroyed and not knowing what technology a police station uses for its wine cellar, the drinkability of the whole lot comes under question. A few of the bottles purchased by undercover law enforcement are at the core of the state’s case and it’s unknown how many bottles simply make up part of his personal collection, however/wherever purchased.
During a summer that has witnessed people dumping ice buckets on their heads to help fund a cure for ALS, one would think that some sort of charitable auction might be in order. And Pennsylvania needs to seriously consider bringing its liquors laws into the 21st century. Because three wrongs don’t make a right.