Pennsylvania’s Latest Attempt To Alienate Its Wine Lovers

Vinted on September 23, 2015 binned in commentary

glorious plcb

In what apparently is Pennsylvania’s latest attempt to prove that it is, in fact, the single worst state in the Union for wine lovers, a recent ruling by Chester County Judge Edward Griffith has put the kibosh on saving a few thousand bottles of wine confiscated from resident Arthur Goldman (who was caught in a sting operation and charged with buying wine outside of the PA state monopoly system, and selling wine in the state without a license). Sorry, but getting angry makes me write run-on sentences, ok?

Through the ruling, the judge Griffith has paved the way for dumping of the confiscated wine (much of which is top-notch stuff), pissing off the state’s wine lovers. The ruling also denies a request by nonprofit Chester County Hospital to have the wine sold to benefit the hospital (presumably, pissing off everyone else in the state, too).

A quote from the judge:

“Since the liquor code makes no provision for condemned wine to be sold for any purpose, the wine may not be delivered to a hospital for sale.”

We cannot fault the judge for upholding current law, since that’s his job. And that law – the PA liquor code – exists, in theory, to control the flow of alcohol in Pennsylvania, and, you know, protect the children! Like the children that are served by… Chester County Hospital!

Ostensibly, however, the PA liquor code seems to be more and more a vehicle to protect the money coming in to the state’s coffers from the alcohol sales controlled by the PA Liquor Control Board. You know, the same board that serves PA’s wine-buying public by spending taxpayers’ dollars inefficiently; instituting expensive, failed initiatives that it’s unclear are even wanted by its customers; selling wine that has been shown to have high levels of arsenic; and committing fraud.

In other words, I don’t think that Pennsylvania is going to be upgrading its wine consumer advocacy grade of “F” anytime soon.






  • Darv Levengood

    Your article needed to spread the blame for this ridiculous situation one bit further! The customer-unfriendly and ridiculous laws were written and enacted by the PA Legislature and Governor, not the PLCB. The PLCB, and the Courts, are merely enforcing; we need to get the Legislature to update and change the liquor laws!

    Darv Levengood

    • 1WineDude

      Darv – quite right. At this point, I’ve lambasted pretty much every stage/aspect of the plcb and PA’s liquor code. Of course, whenever I think that there isn’t more to attack, they prove me wrong…

  • the drunken cyclist

    Joe, while you know that I share your disdain (perhaps not strong enough of a word) for the PLCB and the state liquor laws, I must call “foul” on bringing up the arsenic crap. When that story came out, I worte an article ( if you care to read it) in which I assert (with some compelling evidence) that the whole arsenic “scare” was but a ploy by the authors of the “study” to make a buck. It is time to stop giving that hack any more press or credit until he releases the study to allow others to examine and replicate it.

    But yeah. PLCB=Bad. Pouring DRC down the drain=Really Stupid.

    • 1WineDude

      DC, yeah, you’re right, that whole thing got blown way out of proportion.

  • Albert Brooks

    The PLCB barely operates by codified law. They “interpret” it where some lifelong state employed lawyer that has never voted for by the public,and never approved by the legislature decides what the law is today. Look at the 12 pack law, just the week before she ruled against change and then when a threat of being sued happened…It’s a miracle! 12 packs are legal and have been for 80 years! Of course, “interpreted” one way today can be “interpreted” another way tomorrow which is why the law should be codified and not “interpreted” by some bureaucrat.

    Abolish the PLCB, rewrite the liquor code, privatize the state stores and start from scratch.

    • 1WineDude

      Albert – yep. Exactly that.

  • Eric Annino

    As a “wine lover” living in Pennsylvania, I am absolutely incensed by this state’s nonsense. I wrote a very level-headed and cogent email to Governor Tom Wolf asking him to please explain his rationale for unilaterally vetoing a move to privatize PA’s alcohol industry. Never heard back…

    • 1WineDude

      Eric – I did write some of the congressmen, and heard back, but only from the Republicans.

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