On the heals of promoting my essay “Who Cares” for the Harper Collins publishing competition that Anthony Bourdain’s partnered with to promote his new book Medium Raw (which by the way was an entertaining read), I was jolted into the present with an article I read on Wine Business.com. Now I find out the fabulous folks we have representing us in Washington D.C. have a different take on what it means to care. Enter HR5034 otherwise known as C.A.R.E “The Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness” bill hr5034.
This lovely piece of legislation is another attempt to limit your choices as a wine consumer here in the United States. There are currently 151 congressmen and congresswomen who have co-sponsored this bill. Unless you live in Oregon or Washington there’s a pretty good chance you live somewhere that the representative your state sent to Congress is supporting this bill. I was shocked that there is actually someone from California who is co-sponsoring it.
Tom Wark over at Fermentation has been telling us about this at first, and then he was warning us about it up to and including the date the committee held hearings. Not too many people were listening then in a heroic attempt to give wine consumers the voice they have needed but never had Tom Wark came up with an idea whose time has come. Damn if he did not come up with an idea so fresh and so simple it could not be more amazing.
It is something that has worked for every other consumer group who needed a voice and now we as wine consumers have one “The American Wine Consumer Coalition” a group (by that I mean anyone who drinks wine) who focuses on the needs of the wine consumer not the distributors who think you should not be able to buy wine unless they get a piece of the sale. Gee it almost sounds like a line from a Soprano’s episode; maybe the Pope should visit the American Wine Wholesalers Convention. But that is a story for a different time.
What would you see as a benefit you would desire from such an organization? Send us a comment or better yet go to the American Wine Consumer Coalition home page on Facebook and let them know what you would consider a benefit.
I know what my top two priorities would be as a consumer and a very loud voice in the coalition: One, I do not want the state or the federal government to tell me where, when or from who I can buy my wine, when the only information they consider before making legislature is that of the distributors. My second priority would be as an un-appointed spokesperson for the Willamette Valley. I think Oregon wines are awesome and everyone everywhere in the world should be able to drink them. They should be able to call the producer and order directly if they are willing to pay the freight and have an adult to sign for them. A wine consumer organization with a voice to legislature, retailers, producers and of course let’s not forget the distributors they need to hear what we want right? All in all this could be a very good thing.
There are also many benefits that could come from the industry to consumers in the way of discounts, coalition sponsored events, coalition wine education programs and loyalty points reward systems (well maybe not that one). One other issue I have locally, I cannot pass up talking about as long as we are on the subject of alcohol control is, unless you are fortunate enough to live where they have a liquor store attached to the grocery store where you shop, buying distilled liquors in Oregon is a pain. Locations are few and far between and the hours of operation are ridiculous. When will Oregonian’s finally say “I should be able to buy a bottle of Cognac at the grocery because tonight I am making Steak au Poivre”? I’m still waiting and watching. Again I’m just saying. Eat well Drink well Live well!