A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of being included in a short CNN clip along with Rachel Martin of Boxwood Winery which focused on House Resolution 5034. HR 5034 is a bill that could potentially remove our ability to purchase wine from out of state wineries via direct shipping. It seems wrong in a sense that people can buy drugs and pornography over the internet and have these items delivered to their front door, yet the National Beer Wholesalers Association, with support from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, wants to put a screeching halt to the licensed and regulated interstate shipping of wine and spirits from source to consumer. Small family businesses started from the ground up by hard-working Americans who do not have enough production for a wholesaler to be interested in would be crippled by the passage of such a bill. Small mom-and-pop farm wineries rely on shipping a percentage of their wine production to out of state consumers who support and enjoy their limited production hand-crafted artisan wines. Social media has assisted in establishing a market for these wines, and many producers, especially those out west, have successfully built brands and forged real relationships with people like me who patronize their business. If I want an Oregon Pinot Noir, a California Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Washington Merlot on my dinner table from a small US producer, I believe I should have that right. These small producers have limited to no distribution, and not by choice, therefore, direct shipping is the only way I can get their wine and the only way they can remain viable as a business.(NOTE: If you cannot view the video please click on the following url: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/07/30/caifa.grapes.and.wrath.cnn )
Bill Threatens Wine Shipping
The more I read about HR 5034, the more disturbing it becomes to me. It appears to be all based on greed, not principal, in my humble opinion. The wholesalers already control over 98%, maybe more, of the US wine market through the three-tier-system. The small percentage they are looking to strip away would not only deny us the freedom of choice as Americans, but could also possibly put many more Americans in the unemployment line. The last statistic I looked at stated that over 1.1 million Americans are employed by US wineries. You don’t have to be a wine, beer, or spirit drinker to get involved – the argument should be based on retaining liberties and freedoms we enjoy as Americans as opposed to indulgence. I’m barely scratching the surface with this post; however, I urge you to check out the following links and find out what you can do to get involved to ensure that greed doesn’t make its way into our personal lives! By the way, if you watch the video clip, the wine shipment to me was not staged. While the CNN camera was rolling, a wine package was delivered to me. If this bill passes, the personal freedom that we enjoy in supporting small US family-run farm wineries could end.
Suggested Sites on HR 5034:
* Free The Grapes - http://www.freethegrapes.org/
* Stop HR 5034 - http://www.stophr5034.org/
* Wine blogger Tom Wark over at Fermentation is dropping some serious knowledge on the subject; check out his latest piece here.
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned friends ...More to come!
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