Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Keep The Wine Flowing

Crafted by the National Beer Wholesalers' Association, H.R. 5034 was introduced April 15th by of representatives from Massachusetts, North Carolina, Illinois and Utah. The law, if passed, would make direct online sales of wine & spirits illegal. Thus, buyers would be limited to whatever wholesalers provide to local wine shops. The justification for the proposed legislation is the idea that the law would make it harder for minors to buy alcohol. (See the bill's text here.)

Please! Anyone who thinks this is an attempt to curb teen drinking needs to be neutered before they lower the average IQ of the gene pool. When alcohol is ordered online, the UPS guy (mail man, FedEx guy, etc…) must take it to the door and hand it to somebody displaying I.D. which proves they are of legal drinking age. These legal safe guards are already in place.

The sole purpose of this bill is to give wholesalers a virtual monopoly on wine sales. That’s it. This means, if a consumer wants a particular wine they’ll have to ask their local retailer to order it through his/her wholesaler. If that wholesaler can’t get the particular wine the consumer will simply be out of luck. Wine clubs, which ship wines of the month to members, will be gone as well.

Personally, I enjoy going to a wine shop, sampling a few selections, and taking my prize home without paying for shipping. While I don’t buy wines online, shoppers such as myself will be hurt by the proposed law as well in two very key ways. First, without having to compete with direct sales, wholesalers, and thus retailers, will be able to raise prices across the board. Secondly, and far more disastrously, this law WILL limit variety in the market place.

Small artisan wineries, make as much as 40% of their income from direct online sales. If that market closes, many wineries will be forced out of business. Buyers will be left with a selection of big name corporate wines to choose from, but many hand crafted mom & pop labels will simply disappear from shelves.

Write your lawmakers and urge them to vote against the wholesalers’ monopoly of wine sales. Concerned citizens can also join the Facebook group "Stop HR5034."


  1. Can't you still buy drugs online? You would think they would ban that first. I bet no one checks the ID of the person opening the door that day.