Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Law of Unintended Consequences

If you couldn't tell by now, over at Purple Teeth Cellars, we are pretty fired up about the absurdity and hypocrisy surrounding HR 5034. You can read more about it in our previous post here as well as on Tom Wark's Fermentation blog that gets into more specifics. A campaign is underway to get people to write their elected officials on the federal level about why this bill needs to be rejected. You can e-mail your elected official very easily by using this link that will pre-populate your elected officials' contact info once you type in your name and address. It takes less than 5 minutes.

I wanted to talk a little bit more about a scenario that I see playing out as a result if this legislation is in fact passed. Some of you know that I spent a good chunk of my life in the northEAST corner of the US. As such, many of my family and friends reside in that section of the country. Imagine if my friend, Billy, came out to Washington state for a visit and told us that he is interested in trying some wine from the northWEST corner of the US after he has heard us rave about some of the stuff we have been drinking on Facebook.

We bring him out to Yamhill, Oregon to taste some fabulous Pinot Noir from Patricia Green Cellars. Or we bring them out to Prosser, Washington to taste some awesome Syrah from Bunnell Family Cellars. They are impressed, as he should be because both of these wineries produce some of the best stuff out there. Billy asks how they can get some of this back home because they do not have access to these wines through their local stores. Now right now, Billy is able to have the wine shipped so he can share it with his friends. His friends, particularly Carolyn, are duly impressed and the question comes up, "how can I get this myself?" Billy gives Carolyn the info and she places an order. So both Billy and Carolyn, who had never heard of these wineries previously, now have each purchased wine and may purchase more (and get their friends to buy some, too!). More money being spent in the economy, which is a good thing for everyone involved.

Now if HR 5034 is passed, this doesn't happen. Billy may visit, but if he cannot ship the wine back to his home because the wholesalers do not feel like carrying so many small producers (and the small producers do not want to cede their entire profit margin to a wholesaler), why would he buy wine? That's less money into the economy, which is not a good thing – particularly these days.

How many of you have taken a trip to Napa and/or Sonoma? You stay at a pretty bed & breakfast, eat at great restaurants, visit lots of tasting rooms, drink lots of wine, etc. If you could not ship the wine that you tasted on your trip back home, would you still go? For many people, probably not. For every group that decides not to make that trip, think about more unintended consequences. All of those people who wait on you at the B&Bs, restaurants, tasting rooms, etc. – if people are not coming in, are they going to have jobs? Probably not. So more people out of work, and given the current state of the economy, we definitely need that (huge dose of sarcasm).

And for what – because six (6) companies control distribution of over half the wine and spirits in the entire country, and want to keep it like that! Yep, you read that right – six companies control 50% of the wine distribution in the US.

So please think about this and use this link to automatically generate an e-mail your elected officials. You can also help by not only e-mailing your elected officials but by also passing the word on to your family and friends. Again, this is not just a wine issue. There are far ranging consequences to passing a bill like this. What is outlined only scratches the surface. If wine is regulated by a select few in power in Washington, DC, what is next? Certain magazines will no longer be able to be shipped to your home because someone at 7-Eleven needs to validate that you are old enough to read that material?

Thanks again for your support and don't forget to keep on flashing those PURPLE TEETH!

posted by Jill B. @ 8:13 AM        0 Comments


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