It Doesn’t Just Happen to Wineries

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Do any of these complaints sound familiar?  It reminds me vaguely of the stories from several years ago about Sam’s Wines & Spirits.

Makes you wonder what happens if the distributors get their way on HR 5034, doesn’t it?  or is the better word “fear”?

Pours For Justice

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Do you believe that local government shouldn’t micromanage how and from where you buy wine?

Are you a resident of the Land of Lincoln?

Have you joined the Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition?  Well, why not? (hint? Click here to join NOW!)

If you haven’t gotten to join us yet, then this is the best time to do so.  We are beginning to ramp back up to fight for our wine rights in Illinois (politicians were somewhat obsessed with some sort of political scandal earlier in the year… you might remember it… something about the Governor and impeachment).  Now that the worst of that issue has been worked out it is time to return to the citizens of Illinois the right to purchase wine from out of state retailers, wine clubs and auction houses that we had prior to the passage of HB 429.

And there is going to be a great event to begin the new campaign…

Pours for Justice will be held August 6, 2009 from 5-7:30 at the Chicago Cultural Center (an architectural jewel that should not be missed).  Wine will be provided by The Chicago Wine Company, music by The Lake Effect.  The Event is being sponsored by The Specialty Wine Retailers Association, The Chicago Wine Company, the Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition and Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.  Tickets are $100.

Tickets may be purchased at http://www.specialtywineretailers.org/donate.html or you can click on the logo below…

I look forward to seeing you there!

Illinois Consumer Group Stands Up For Wine Lovers

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

I just got the notice of this:

—Specialty Wine Retailers Supports Efforts by Illinois Consumers to Address Unfair Wine Laws—

With the founding of the Illinois Wine Consumer Coalition (http://www.illinoiswineconsumers.org), that state’s consumers are finally fighting back against powerful interests that have taken control of the rules and regulations of Illinois concerning consumer access to wine. The Specialty Wine Retailers Association congratulates Illinois consumers for organizing and becoming part of a legislative process that has degenerated into an exercise in protectionism for the state’s powerful alcohol wholesaler lobby. It is only by consumer involvement that the nature of the process can be changed.

Passed by the Illinois legislature and signed into law by Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2007, HB 429 stripped Illinois consumers of their right to purchase wine from out-of-state wine stores, Internet wine stores, wine auction houses and non-winery wine clubs. During the negotiations that led to the law, no consumers were consulted. The result was that Illinois consumers lost access to the vast majority of wines available in the American marketplace for the sake of protecting Illinois wholesalers from competition.

Since 2002, Illinois alcohol wholesalers contributed $563,000 to Governor Blagojevich’s campaigns. In October 2007, Governor Blagojevich signed into law the anti-consumer, wholesaler-protecting bill (HB 429) that forced Illinois consumers to purchase most wines only from in-state wholesaler-serviced wine stores in Illinois.

Governor Blagojevich Proclaimed July 10, 2008 Beer Distributor Day in Illlinois. Since 2002 the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois have donated over $96,000 to Governor Blagojevich’s campaigns.

“Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) is very proud of Illinois consumers for organizing to try to take back their ability to access the wines they want and to fight special interest legisltion,” said Tom Wark, Executive Director of SWRA. “SWRA fully supports consumer involvement in wine shipping issues as well as a return to well regulated consumer access to wine in Illinois.”

The Specialty Wine Retailers Association is a national group that advocates fair, non-discriminatory and well-regulated direct shipment of wine. For more information about SWRA see http://www.specialtywineretailers.org .

For more information go visit the IWCC site.