The Craft Wine Association recently had a productive meeting to discuss the draft National Direct Shipping Bill of Rights.
This was the first opportunity for producers to weigh in on a set of principles based on the “Model Direct Shipping Bill” that, while progressive at the time, is now more than 25 years old.
As an industry consisting mainly of craft producers, we need to gain consensus on important policies related to direct shipping to present a unified voice and help policymakers understand our approach is comprehensive, safe and beneficial to regulators.
After all, direct shipping is critical for craft wineries to survive and compete against major corporations that have a tremendous advantage in distribution and marketing.
The set of principles includes basic tenets, such as all participants need to be properly licensed and fully compliant with all laws and shipping requirements, ranging from age verification to proper package labeling.
Using feedback from the industry, the association plans to adopt and finalize 10 principles to serve as the basis of future meetings, forums, and legislative advocacy efforts in statehouses across the country.
While much has changed since the “Model Direct Shipping Bill” was adopted in 1997, including the Internet and e-commerce as we know it today, this new Bill of Rights follows major upcoming changes in federal, state and local laws.
In 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14036 on promoting competition in the American economy which seeks to explore fair, open, and competitive markets for craft producers, among other things. In response to the order in 2022, the U.S. Treasury Department released a report titled ‘Competition in the Market Place for Beer, Wine, and Spirits’ which set the stage for regulatory reform that may prevent market consolidation and help small producers thrive. Regulatory proceedings by the TTB are currently underway.
Our timing could not be more important as significant policy changes may improve the markets for small producers across the nation.
Every producer is invited to join our effort, provide your thoughts and help us develop guiding principles that will last another 25 years or more. Read the final draft and send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven Harrison chairs the Craft Wine Association Advocacy Group which collaborates with producers and government to help modernize the wine industry. He is the President & CEO of Zero Link Markets, the company that operates Vinoshipper, an e-commerce and compliance platform for direct sales of alcohol products and CompleteDTC a CRM and producer management system. The businesses facilitate small and medium-sized alcohol producers to sell and ship their products directly to consumers. He has more than 25 years working in finance and operations management and has been involved with several early-stage businesses, ranging from software companies to medical devices and consumer products.
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