Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WineAmerica Staff Travel Update

The WineAmerica staff is about to embark on another round of traveling to get our message out to the masses.

Cary Greene will be at Taste Washington in Seattle, WA from March 25 to 27.

Michael Kaiser and Jennifer Montgomery will be at the Wineries Unlimited Trade Show and Conference in Richmond, VA from March 29 to 31.

Michael Kaiser will be attending and speaking at License to Steal, the National Wine Marketing Conference at Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH from April 12 to14.

Michael Kaiser will be attending and speaking at the Pennsylvania Wineries Association Meeting in State College, PA from April 19-20.

Also, we are gearing up for the 2011 Wine and Grape Policy Conference jointly presented with the Winegrape Growers of America at the Phoenix Park Hotel here in Washington, DC from May 8 to 11.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Reintroduction of the CARE Act

By Jennifer Montgomery

As you have probably heard, the CARE Act has flnally resurfaced.  Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), reintroduced the bill yesterday afternoon and it is now called the Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act, (HR 1161). Chaffetz was joined in introducing the bill by several other original co-sponsors including Representatives Bruce Braley (D-IA), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Dennis Ross (R-FL), and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). The bill is the same one as the revised legislation that was proposed last fall.

Congress has recessed and the members are now back in their districts for a week-long work period. It is imperative that you take this opportunity to make sure your Member of Congress hears from you while he or she is home and understands how potentially harmful this bill is to your business and to the wine industry as a whole. It also would be a good time to contact your state Attorney General.

We urge you to reach out to your lawmakers so that they know there two sides to the story of the CARE Act (HR 1161).

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions.


WASHINGTON (March 17, 2011) – The Brewers Association, WineAmerica, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Wine Institute, Beer Institute and the National Association of Beverage Importers, associations representing virtually all alcohol beverages sold in the 50 states, today called on Members of Congress to reject the CARE Act (H.R. 1161), legislation backed by the wholesale tier of the alcohol beverage industry.

The producer groups stated: "We strongly oppose H.R. 1161, which, like its predecessor in the last Congress, is unnecessary. Its provisions would harm consumers and the marketplace, limit consumer choice, and allow states to enact protectionist and anti-competitive laws. If this bill became law, it would make it much harder for brewers, vintners, distillers and importers to get their products to market.

"Since Prohibition's repeal, a balanced system of state and federal regulation has evolved to maintain a well-regulated and orderly market for the sale and distribution of alcohol beverages. Nothing has changed to warrant upsetting this careful balance, and we do not believe that Congress should spend valuable time wading into an intra-industry squabble, nor should it favor one segment of an industry at the expense of other industry members and American consumers.

“On March 7, 2011, the United States Supreme Court declined to review a challenge to a Texas state law, effectively ending litigation that the wholesalers say justifies their legislation. The wholesalers’ praise of this Supreme Court action is inconsistent with wholesaler support for H.R. 1161, which strips courts of their power to make precisely these kinds of balancing judgments.

“We urge Congress not to unravel a successful regulatory structure to the detriment of consumers, the industry, and the federal interest in a fair, competitive, and orderly marketplace for alcohol beverages.”

The producer groups in February 2011 sent a letter to Members of Congress in which they expressed their opposition to this legislation.

# # #


Bob Pease, Brewers Association
bob@brewersassociation.org, 303-447-0816 

Nancy Light, Wine Institute

Frank Coleman, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
fcoleman@discus.org, 202-682-8840

Lindsay Mize for the Beer Institute
lmize@clsdc.com; 202-777-3540

Cary M. Greene, Esq., WineAmerica
cgreene@wineamerica.org, 202-478-7642

William T. Earle, NABI

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Registration is Open for the 2011 Wine and Grape Policy Conference

Registration is open for the 2011 Wine and Grape Policy Conference.  The annual Wine and Grape Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. is an important opportunity for members of WineAmerica and WGA to discuss and evaluate Federal policy issues of interest to our industry, and to communicate our stances directly to Members of Congress and the Administration. These meetings play an important role in the critical process of relationship building which is central to our mission of favorably influencing policy outcomes. It is also a great opportunity for wine industry leaders from across the country to network with each other in formal and informal settings. We hope that you will join us in May for this very important meeting.  Registration for the meeting can be found here:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Four unique wine marketing opportunities at the 2011 Wine Tourism, Wine Bloggers and Food Blogger Conferences

The 2011 Wine Tourism Conference http://winetourismconference.org/ is brought to you by Zephyr Adventures and MartinCalder Productions .  An anticipated 300 national and international delegates representing wine and travel businesses, meeting planners, educators and other stakeholders in the wine tourism industry will convene in the Napa Valley on November 16 and 17, 2011 to address industry trends and the issues that impact wine tourism for both new and old world wine regions. You may want to attend this conference to keep abreast on what the latest trends and best practices are in the wine tourism industry or you may want to attend and showcase your wine region as a wine tourism destination as a conference sponsor. Sponsorship information can be found on the blog under SPONSORS or click here: http://winetourismconference.org/sponsors

The Wine Bloggers Conference http://winebloggersconference.org/america/ travels from the west coast to the east for a three day event taking place July 22 – 24 in Charlottesville, VA. 300 plus wine bloggers, new media innovators and wine industry representatives will convene to taste wine and discuss the intersection of wine with the world of new media including blogging, social media, and more. This conference offers several excellent opportunities for you to get your wines in front of some of today’s most influential wine & food bloggers. Visit http://winebloggersconference.org/america/ and click on SPONSORS for more sponsorship information.

The 2011 International Food Blogger Conferences take place August 26-28 in New Orleans LA  and  November 11-13 in Santa Monica CA  :  http://www.foodista.com/ifbc2011/ Both of these conferences offer a wonderful opportunity for a wine to stand out amongst a largely Food Blogger base of attendees. We are expecting 250 to 300 to attend the New Orleans conference and 230 to 260 to attend the Santa Monica conference. With a focus on food, writing, and technology, IFBC is the premier event for not only food bloggers, but anyone interested in engaging with industry leading authors, chefs, bloggers and more. For the past two years the IFBC has sold out months in advance and continues to be the largest event of its kind. Sponsorship Opportunities can be found on the conference blog or click here: http://www.foodista.com/ifbc2011nola/sponsors/

Monday, March 7, 2011

WineAmerica Opposes New Jersey Assembly Bill Restricting Winery Privileges in New Jersey

March 7, 2011

Assemblyman M. Gordon Johnson, Chair
Law and Public Safety Committee
Assembly of the State of New Jersey
545 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ 07666

Dear Chairman Johnson and Members of the Committee:

WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, on behalf of our member wineries in New Jersey and across the nation, encourage you to oppose A. 3831 that would restrict winery privileges in New Jersey.  WineAmerica is the only national winery trade association.

We oppose this bill because it reduces the range of privileges currently available to New Jersey wineries, undermines the agricultural character of New Jersey’s wine industry, and imposes extraterritorial restrictions on the operation of wineries in states other than New Jersey that are likely unconstitutional.

A. 3831 would be a step back for New Jersey winery law which currently promotes local agriculture, New Jersey’s agricultural potential and heritage, and the preservation of rural landscapes.  In developing its winery laws, New Jersey was right to try to keep its rural areas vital and flourishing.  It should not undercut this legitimate local purpose, but should instead defend its right to promote an agricultural form—winemaking—that reliably makes rural living on wide open spaces more economically feasible.
At the same time, imposing a requirement that out-of-state New Jersey small winery licensees grow and cultivate “at least three acres” of “grapes or fruit used in the production of wine,” and produce no more than 250,000 gallons per year, likely imposes an extraterritorial restriction that violates the Constitution.  E.g., Healy v. Beer Institute, Inc., 491 U.S. 324 (1989).  A state may not establish regulations that have the “effect of controlling commercial activity occurring wholly outside the boundary of the State.”  By subjecting out-of-state wineries to qualification standards that may conflict with local lawi.e., imposing production and cultivation standards that differ from those imposed by other states—New Jersey is contemplating limiting the policy choices of those states whose wineries may wish to do business in New Jersey.  

WineAmerica continues to support the sales and distribution privileges currently afforded to New Jersey wineries, and believes that these and similar privileges, including direct-to-consumer shipping, may be responsibly and thoughtfully extended to wineries without compromising New Jersey’s ability to regulate alcohol beverage markets.

Wineries add to the character of New Jersey agricultural and should be afforded the opportunity to operate efficiently and profitably.  We do not believe that A. 3831 promotes this aim, and respectfully request you reject this hastily drafted bill.

Cary M. Greene
Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel

Friday, March 4, 2011

WineAmerica Supports Opening Maryland Up for Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping

by Michael Kaiser

Today at 1 pm  the Maryland State Senate and Maryland State Assembly will hold hearings regarding the two pending legislative proposals that would allow direct-to-consumer wine shipment in Maryland.  WineAmerica, in conjunction with the Maryland Wineries Association supports House Bill 234 and Senate Bill 248.  Below is the text of our letter of support that is being put into the legislative record. 

WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, on behalf of our member wineries in Maryland and across the nation, encourage you to pass HB 234 allowing for the direct shipment of wine to consumers.  WineAmerica is the only national winery trade association. 

We support this bill because many of our member wineries both in Maryland and throughout the United States find it challenging to reach Maryland consumers interested in purchasing their products.  WineAmerica supports the adoption of winery direct-to-consumer shipping in Maryland, and encourages you to pass HB 234 on to the House for a full vote.
Currently, Maryland law does not provide for a workable system that allows local and out-of-state wineries to ship to Maryland consumers.  Small, dynamic businesses—like those of our members—that are creating jobs and rural economic development should be provided every opportunity to sell their products in open markets.  As the U.S. Supreme Court has said: “every farmer and every craftsman shall be encouraged to produce by the certainty that he will have free access to every market in the Nation…Likewise, every consumer may look to the free competition from every producing area in the Nation to protect him from exploitation.”  P. Hood & Sons, Inc. v. Du Mond, 336 US 525, 539 (1949).  Giving wineries the ability to ship directly to consumers would uphold this principle and would be economically beneficial to Maryland, its wineries, and its consumers.  Notably, Maryland is one of the last holdouts in the country that prohibits direct-to-consumer shipping.
We commend the Maryland legislature for its insight in mandating the outstanding Direct Wine Shipping report compiled by the Maryland Comptroller’s office.  Its utility goes well-beyond Maryland.  Indeed, this thorough report is now the leading study on direct wine shipping and its regulation.  As the report concludes, giving wineries direct-to-consumer shipping privileges would be a positive development both for the wine industry and the state.
The report conclusively shows that winery direct shipping, as provided for in HB 234, poses few risks to the collection of revenue, and will not result in increased risk of access by minors.  In addition, because direct shipping typically accounts for no more than 1% of sales in most wine markets, and because of the character of products received by consumers via direct shipment, HB 234 will pose little risk to Maryland retailers.
Within Maryland or a short distance of Maryland there are nearly 1,000 wineries.  The vast majority of these businesses, including Maryland’s 42 wineries and 15 wineries in development, are small, family operations.  These businesses are keeping small farms viable, and through agri-tourism are building a new model for rural economic development.  Many of them are also unable to reach Maryland consumers—either partially or at all—since smaller brands are not likely to find distribution through traditional three-tier channels.  By allowing wineries in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio to ship to Maryland consumers, the state would be opening its borders to many of these boutique products for the first time.  Maryland wineries would also benefit by being able to capture lost sales that often result from consumers aiming to buy local, but unable to find their favorite Maryland wines on local store shelves.
This bill is a positive step for your state and for consumers.  WineAmerica urges you to vote yes on a HB 234.
For more information please visit the Maryland Wineries Association website. 

Maryland Wineries Association

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Registration Coming Soon for the 2011 Wine and Grape Policy Conference

by Michael Kaiser

Registration will be open soon (March 14) for the 2011 Wine and Grape Policy Conference.  The annual Wine and Grape Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. is an important opportunity for members of both organizations to discuss and evaluate Federal policy issues of interest to our industry, and to communicate our stances directly to Members of Congress and the Administration. These meetings play an important role in the critical process of relationship building which is central to our mission of favorably influencing policy outcomes. It is also a great opportunity for wine industry leaders from across the country to network with each other in formal and informal settings. The registration form is attached or you can register on the WineAmerica website.  We hope that you will join us in May for this very important meeting.  The best way to register will be through the WineAmerica website.