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 A Wine Consumer Issue 
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Post A Wine Consumer Issue
A Wine Consumer Issue
by: Ronald Senn

The Wine Consumer Issue revolves around three primary axes. One axis is the ever-increasing demand by the consumer as wine popularity soars. Another angle to the wine consumer issue is the wholesalers, the traditional intermediaries, seek to protect their state-sanctioned monopolies, in other words, they want their share of the “American Money Pie”. The last issue axis revolves around the old-fashion laws regarding shipment of wine across state lines. All of these issue components serve to restrict your ability to buy and ship your favorite wine no matter where you get it.

An ever-increasing favorite beverage of many people is wine and demand for wine is increasing rapidly. With over one-thousand different wine varieties, the choices seem nearly infinite. Wine tasting parties are very popular and great events to get to know other people. In the past thirty years, the number of wineries increased by several hundred percent. There is now at least one winery in every state, but distributors in all fifty states represent less than twenty percent of these wineries. The issue is consumers do not have the freedom everywhere to obtain wine from their favorite vintners.

The traditional American business model starts with a producer that leads to a wholesaler that leads to the consumer. The wholesalers in this equation are naturally fighting your ability to purchase and ship directly from the producer of your choice, strictly a matter of money. In last 30 years as wine popularity and demand has increased the number of wine wholesalers has drastically diminished. The wines currently marketed are generally limited to two or three distributors in each state with a great deal of interest in keeping direct wine shipping laws in place.

Did you know that only thirty-five states now allow the retail shipment of wine to adult consumers across their respective borders? In those states, the shipping restrictions range from limited to very restrictive. Fifteen states continue their ban on any form of cross border shipping of wine. Some of these states even classify that act as a felony. Imagine; obtaining the wine you want from where you want could have you facing criminal charges.

This wine consumer dilemma became apparent to me after visiting the website of a great organization: Free The Grapes. This organization was established in 1998 to address directly the wine consumer issue that is summarized above from their website. By visiting their website, you can get more specific information regarding the wine consumer controls associated within the state you live. Their web site can be found at

Maybe it is time we wine lovers got involved with this issue so our enjoyment of wine can continue unabated. Of course, that is my opinion; you should develop an opinion of your own with regard to this issue.

More information on websites dedicated to wine and wine issues can be found in the “Links” Section at

About The Author
Ronald Senn is currently Vice-president of Ideal Wine Coolers. Ron served in the U.S. Navy from 1966-1970. Ron graduated from the University of Arizona with BS and MS Degrees. Ron is retired from the U.S. Forest Service after serving over 30 years.

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:30 pm
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