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Wine Drinkers Launch Much Needed Lobbying Group

on 26/06/13 at 11:03 am

Booze News

2013-06-20-AWCC_logo_Color1In New York you can have a bottle of wine shipped from a California winery, but it’s illegal to buy that same bottle at the supermarket. In Arkansas you can pick up that bottle with your groceries, but you can’t order it from an out-of-state retailer. And in Massachusetts you can’t do any of the above. American wine buyers face different restrictions in every state, and have little representation when new legislation is introduced.

The American Wine Consumer Coalition is out to change all that. Executive Director Tom Wark, who also runs the wine blog Fermentation, announced the group’s launch yesterday saying “new laws and regulations represent the interests of the alcohol beverage trade, not the consumers.” I spoke with Tom about the new coalition and why it’s time wine lovers to unite and wield some political power.

Why do wine drinkers need their own lobbying group?

A couple of years ago there was bill before congress, HR1161, that would have resulted in severe restrictions on consumer access to wines. They had two hearings and not one consumer was invited. As a result, they got the opinions of wholesalers, wineries and distributors, but didn’t speak to the people who would be impacted the most. This is because there is no organized advocacy group behind them. It was time to consider something like that and now it’s finally launched.

Which laws do you feel hurt consumers the most?