Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
 

Editor's Letter

 

For Whom the CARE Act Cares

July 2010
 
by Jim Gordon
 
 

Unless you flew to New Zealand for the 2010 harvest and are just now returning, you already know about House Resolution 5034, the so-called CARE act that would take really good care of alcohol wholesalers at the expense of producers. The innocently named bill, introduced by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.), was written on behalf of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America actively support it, too.

The sly acronym comes from the bill’s short title: the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2010. HR 5034 is a jaw-dropping power grab that could limit wineries’ access to customers, reduce their profit margins, create huge new legal bills for them and their associations, and potentially launch a host of other negative consequences. We think it’s a bad idea and urge everyone in the wine-producing and retailing tiers to speak out against it.

One easy way for winery and vineyard owners, their staffs, supporters and community members to show their opposition is to go to freethegrapes.org and use the simple tools for drafting e-mails and letters to members of Congress. Many wine producers already have channels of communication with their representatives, and this is the time to use them.

It’s also important for every regional or local winery organization to get involved and join the big producer organizations to publicly oppose the legislation. All of the following and more have already lined up in opposition:

• Wine Institute
• WineAmerica
• Family Winemakers of California
• Washington Wine Institute
• Oregon Winegrowers Association
• Free the Grapes
• Specialty Wine Retailers Association
• Beer Institute
• Brewers Association
• Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
• Kentucky Distillers Association

But this impressive roster doesn’t guarantee that the legislation won’t become law. “There is potential for it to pass,” said Steve Gross, director of state relations for Wine Institute, speaking at the ShipCompliant Users Conference in June. He estimated that as many as 120 representatives will be co-signers of the bill by the time you read this. HR 5034 seemed likely to get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee by July 15, although unlikely to get out of the House any time this year for consideration by the Senate.

The wording of the bill states its intent as: “To support state-based alcohol regulation, to clarify evidentiary rules for alcohol matters, to ensure the collection of all alcohol taxes, and for other purposes.” It sounds reasonable at first glance, but many in the wine industry view it as an attempt to roll back the important 2005 Supreme Court decision of Granholm vs. Heald, which ruled that state alcohol laws don’t trump the Constitution’s stand against state regulations that discriminate against interstate trade.

Thanks to that decision, a majority of states now have legislation allowing out-of-state wine producers the same rights as in-state wineries to ship direct to residents, as long as they get permits, pay fees and so on. Gross said that 83% of the U.S. population is now accessible to wineries by direct shipments. HR 5034 would not literally overturn Gran- holm. In fact some of its supporters are saying it enshrines Granholm in legislation, but that is just a diversionary tactic to win it support.

HR 5034 would not automatically shut down direct-shipping states—at least not at first. It would, however, be very far-reaching and give the states (and their powerful wholesaler lobbies) the equivalent of bulletproof vests to protect them from any further changes desired by alcohol producers. One of its most dramatic effects would be to put the legal burden of proof on anyone challenging state liquor laws, which is not the case now.

Evan Lawson, an attorney with vast experience in alcohol regulation, and who includes wholesalers as clients, said at the ShipCompliant conference that wholesalers understood long ago that the direct-shipping movement is an effort to grab their profit margin and give it to someone else, namely the producers. HR 5034 would restore the idea of alcohol being under local political control and thus make it easier for wholesalers—who are loyal and generous supporters of politicians—to manage.

Political clout is precisely the weapon that wineries need to wield right now. It’s important for all of us in the wine industry to raise our voices, write or call our representatives in Congress, and stop HR 5034 from advancing.

 
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
 
SEE OTHER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN ï¿½ CURRENT COLUMN ARTICLES »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $622 million
7%
$7,995 million
5%
March 2014 $582 million $7,588 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $252 million
19%
$1,863 million
14%
March 2014 $213 million $1,634 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 356
22%
243
16%
March 2014 292 210
     
 
MORE » Released on 04.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • April 26-28
     
    Sommelier Summit
     
  • April 29 - May 2
     
    International Wine Judging
     
  • May 1
     
    Sonoma County Barrel Auction
     
  • May 2
     
    Monterey County Winemakers' Celebration
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Bedroom Communities Seek Vineyard AVA »
 
Why not just bottle under a vineyard designation? The bond will have a city or...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
FWIW, We make a few wines from a certified Organic vineyard growing cabernet franc, merlot,...
Reader: southoldfc
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
According to the manufacturer, the logs are made through compression and not with a binding...
Reader: Andrew Adams
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
What is the bonding agent of the Pressed Oak Logs?
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
Some Long Island, NY, vineyard farmers are already using nearly organic methods. They have worked...
Reader: envcat
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Stephen Ross Wine Cell...
 San Luis Obispo, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Winemaker/Cellar Maste...
 Southeastern, WI
Winemaker/Enologist
 Warehouse Associate (P...
 Paso Robles, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 2015 Harvest Interns
 Dayton, OR
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Harvest Cellar Workers
 Napa, CA
Winemaker/Enologist
 Sales Representative
 Multiple Openings, CO
Sales and Marketing
 Shipping & Receiving C...
 Rutherford, CA
General Administration and
 Experienced Fine Wine ...
 Ft. Myers, FL
Sales and Marketing
 Hospitality/Servers
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine Warehouse Shippin...
 Santa Rosa, CA
General Administration and
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.