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Consumer choice driving SD study on wine imports

PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota wine connoisseurs remain hopeful lawmakers still might make it easier to import their favorite vintages, even though the Legislature turned back their request to let wineries ship directly to consumers.

South Dakota is one of nine states that don’t allow direct wine shipping.

A legislative board this week approved a summer study on alcohol distribution and sales that could result in proposed policy changes.

It will examine the three-tier system of alcohol sales which includes producers, wholesalers and retailers.

A group of Sioux Falls anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists who enjoy drinking wine together drafted a bill last year that failed to pass the Legislature this past session.

“It’s all about consumer choice. We have a right to choice,” said Don Roesler, a nurse anesthetist who is president of the group, South Dakotans for Better Wine Laws.

Roesler and his colleagues like to travel to wineries on the west coast and feel frustrated that they can’t order that wine delivered to their home.

Sen. Corey Brown, who sponsored wine group’s shipping bill, said the current alcohol laws, which he calls “archaic,” were set up immediately after Prohibition.