You know that wine club you belong to in California that ships directly to you monthly? And that other vineyard across the country that has such a small production that no retailer in your state carries its wine, so you must purchase directly from the winery for shipment to you? Be prepared for the possibility that a new bill (House Resolution 5034) could change all of that.
Congress has introduced the bill that potentially could terminate shipment of wine and alcohol in the U.S., and restrict consumers and wineries from filing suit against the law.
From the point of view of wholesalers and state regulators, there needs to be more control of alcohol sales at the state level. Deregulation of alcohol sales – or the breakdown of the three-tier producer-wholesaler-retailer system – could lead to a rise in alcoholism and underage drinking, supporters of the bill suggest.
Critics argue that the HR 5034 would create a monopoly for wholesalers who would be protected from competition, and that consumers would not be able to purchase wines or alcohol not carried by local wholesalers.
So while the bill on the surface seems anti-consumer, it will also cause the wineries, particularly those with limited production, to suffer, as well.
An April 16 article on Winespectator.com entitled “An End to Wine Direct Shipping?” breaks down the bill and various sides. Tom Wark’s Fermentation also delves into the intricacies of the bill, and what the language actually means and how it will affect us.
The bottom line is, that while there’s no immediate danger in this bill getting passed, if not enough Americans care or are aware of this threat, it may become a reality and not just a blog-post warning.