With the launch of The American Wine Consumer Coalition today, U.S. wine consumers now have a place in public policy debates for the first time ever. Brainchild of award-winning wine blogger and wine industry public relations consultant Tom Wark, the new organization will focus on increasing consumer rights to access wine via direct shipping, supermarket sales, privatization, and more! Wark is executive director, and AWCC's president is David White, who this year won “Best Overall Wine Blog” at the 2013 Wine Blog Awards for Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog (congratulations, David!). I serve as a member of the AWCC board.
Here’s a little more information from AWCC’s press release:
“In 2011 Congress held hearings on a bill (HR 1161) that, if passed, would have fundamentally and negatively impacted consumer access to wine, yet not a single consumer was invited to testify before Congress,” notes AWCC President David White. “While this was not the first nor the last time those most impacted by these kinds of deliberations were shut out of the conversation, this is when it became clear to a number of wine consumers across the country that their voice is ignored, and that something needed to change.”
Today, numerous states block consumer access to wine and the ability of consumers to enjoy a simple bottle as a result of a variety of archaic and protectionist laws that serve special interests, but not the basic interests of wine consumers:
- 11 states still ban their residents from having wine shipped to them from out of state wineries.
- 36 States still ban their residents from having wine shipped to them from out of state retailers
- 17 States still ban its residents from buying wine in grocery stores
- 4 states ban the purchase of wine on Sundays
- 2 States control the sale of wine, rather than allowing its residents to buy their wine in a free and open marketplace
- 15 states ban their residents from bringing a bottle from home into a restaurant.
Among the issues that are high on the AWCC’s agenda are legal consumer access to wine via direct shipment, grocery store wine sales and privatization efforts that take the government out of the business of selling wine and putting it into the hands of the much more responsive free market.