Sunday, October 16, 2011


Wine Activism

In the United States, after Prohibition was repealed, the burden of legislating the sale of alcoholic beverages fell to the individual states.  This resulted in about as many different sets of beaurocratic red tape as there were states.  In today's global economy, wine drinkers have wine from all over the world available to them by way of the internet.  Available, that is, if the state in which the wine lover lives permits direct shipment of alcoholic beverages to its citizens.

Today, some American states still saddle their populace with antiquated laws concerning the shipment of wine and other beverages - laws that were put on the books as early as the 1930s and, in many cases,  have not been changed or updated since.

These legal antiquities are largely still in effect due to what's known as the Three Tier System of alcoholic beverage control.  The three tiers are producers, distributors and retailers.  Opponents of the three tier system note that consumers are not one of the three tiers, and therefore their needs are not met by this system.

It is argued - convincingly - that the model serves only to line the pockets of those who distribute wine from the producers to the retailers.  Many interested observers say there is no need for this type of middleman - that consumers should be able to buy wine
and have it shipped to them directly, the way they buy any other legal product.

Activism among wine lovers has grown rapidly in an effort to get outdated legislation changed so wine lovers across the country can order and receive any wine they choose.

Pay a visit to your local wine store, and you are likely to see flyers for organizations like Free The Grapes, which are urging the public to take action with messages to legislators supporting more freedom for wine buyers.

The American Wine Consumer Coalition, started by wine blogger Tom Wark, seeks to give a voice to wine drinkers who are upset with the disregard their state governments exhibit toward their freedom to choose.  The non-profit AWCC has a Facebook page you can "like" to show your support.

A number of campaigns have also been launched over the last couple of years to combat different U.S. House bills which seek to support the Three Tier System.

However you choose to get involved, it's clear that a time of action has come, and wine drinkers from all 50 states are jumping into the fray to claim the rights which should be theirs as citizens of the U.S.

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