Tom Wark’s poignant report reminds the wine loving public of the ever present threat to unrestricted commerce we face – even today – more than 80 years after the end of prohibition. And while these archaic threats to the unencumbered flow of wine between producer and consumer primarily result from the monopolistic actions of the powerful liquor distributors throughout the most populous states, there can be no doubt that the mall-sized “big-box” chain liquor stores have a serious role in this game, too.
Acting in tandem with liquor wholesalers that often span multiple states, these big-box chains act as gatekeepers to the vinous world, serving as judge and jury for boutique producers and their wares. Consumers in search of the best and brightest the wine world has to offer are often without a prayer of securing their palate’s desire: wholesalers aren’t interested unless the retailers express a desire, and the big box chains won’t talk to a wine-maker who doesn’t routinely churn out hundreds of thousands of cases, “If you can’t cover all of our stores, we’re just not interested.”
Boutique producers – where quality is paramount – seem destined to fail if H.R. 1161 successfully passes and the prohibition environment is allowed to return. If wholesalers aren’t interested in the products being bottled by conscientious winemakers, and the big-box stores likewise can’t be made to see the light – and yet it’s these very wholesalers and retailers who are forcing 1161 into existence – how in the name of free enterprise and the American way can this be happening?!
Read Tom’s article and follow his advice (as I have). Let your voices be heard: