We recently celebrated our American freedom yet, our grapes are still bound by the bondage of bureaucracy. Two pieces of legislation are currently in the works that affect our wine freedoms. Initiative 1100 seeks to free the grapes in Washington State by removing the state from the liquor business and allowing private business greater access to retail sales of spirits. HR5034 is a legislative bill introduced to congress earlier this year. This bill would restrict direct shipment of wine pushing distribution into the hands of large wholesalers effectively handcuffing the small business winery. Much has been written about both pieces of legislation.
UPDATE on Initiative 1100 (Washington State)
The opposition to I-1100 would have you believe that the “proposed measure puts our children and communities at risk by eliminating sensible regulations and allowing more than ten-fold increase in outlets selling hard liquor.”
Kirkland based Costco quickly rallied behind the bill and helped in the collection of nearly 400,000 signatures in support of the initiative. As of now the signatures have been validated and the initiative will appear on the November ballot. If passed, I-1100 would eliminate the states monopoly on spirits and would repeal the states three-tier system. This is a powerful next step in the freedom march for wine.
UPDATE on H.R. 5034
HR5034 has been in sub-committee for several months and was recently set to come to the floor for a hearing on July 14. That hearing has since been canceled and will likely not re-appear on the agenda until after the 2010 elections. According to Katherine Mangu-Ward of Reason.com, the speculation is that Constitutional concerns caused the postponement and further rumor shows that the TTB (US. liquor governing body) is set to come out opposing the legislation. While this is certainly cause to pop a bottle of bubbles, don’t break out the good stuff just yet. Readers are still urged to contact their House Representative in opposition of the bill. Stay updated on all the latest at StopHR5034.com and you can still join the community of 14,000 wine freedom fighters on the Facebook page.
Use this tool provided by freethegrapes.com to email your congress person.