The latest on monopolies protecting their own: beer, spirit and wine wholesalers have introduced legislation to the US House to seriously curtail or even prohibit direct wine shipments by wineries and retailers. Ostensibly, and cynically, this is being spun as a measure to "protect the children" from getting their hands on beer, wine and spirits shipped to their door. (Seriously, does anyone know of an underage drinker who will wait a week for a case of wine to arrive, much less pay $40 for shipping? C'mon!) What it does mean for consumers if this legislation passes? If you get any wines directly from out-of-state wineries or retailers, you will be SOL. If you are a retailer or winery that ships to customers out-of-state, you are completely, utterly, hosed.
Personally, I find the legislation ridiculous. It will decrease competition, decrease choice and probably send a lot of small wineries, who depend on direct sales, out of business. It will also seriously curtail the range of many specialty wine shops, especially those who have developed expertise and relations with a specific wine-growing area or type of wine, like NYC's Italian Wine Merchants or Sonoma's Rare Wine Company.
If you buy wines from out-of-state wineries or retailers, contact your congressman and tell him or her you are against HR 5034. Now! Today!!
I'll post more as more news develops.