Monday, October 29, 2007

Helping to Free the Wine Trade

One of the great conundrums – at least in the context of wine and food – in a country which prides itself on personal freedom is our relative lack of choice when it comes to buying wine. Wineries want to reach more customers, retailers want to reach more customers, customers want access to more wines, but most of the greater 50 states are afraid of losing control of taxation and revenues. Each and every state has its own quirky liquor laws. And most states still refuse to play nicely with each other. Most of all, they seem to be afraid of the cash-flexed muscle and lobbying power of the largely invisible middlemen in this whole mess: wholesalers. They're the middle link in America’s three-tier wine and liquor distribution system and the group which has the most to lose in the fight for a free wine trade.

As a member of the retail wine trade, I’d love the ability to reach a wider audience. As a wine blogger, I'd also love to reach a wider audience. Shipping practices, state laws and Supreme Court decisions, though, are really not my personal bailiwick. If you’d like to keep abreast of all the latest political action related to wine shipping and shopping laws, you may want to tune in to big blogger Tom Wark’s newest endeavor: Wine Without Borders. Tom also happens to be Executive Director of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association. He’s started Wine Without Borders in hopes that his latest blog, through reader response and community impact, can help to make a difference in freeing commerce for all of us wine lovers. He’s got his work cut out for him, but here’s to every little effort making a difference.


Marcus said...

You've got barriers, but in Montreal we've got a provincial monopoly and little-enforced law that you cannot shop for wine in other Canadian provinces.

Grass is greener...!

David McDuff said...

I feel for you, Marcus. I live with a similar system on a daily basis here in Pennsylvania. However, given Philadelphia's location in the far SE corner of the state, it's a little easier to jump across the border to do a little shopping than it is in Montreal.

Even so, it would certainly be nice to have wine shipped from wineries or out of state shops without having to worry about who will do what, who's breaking the law and/or who might confiscate the package along its way.

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