This year as we take our advocacy efforts to the next level, we are targeting policies that are potentially harmful to our industry and, in particular, damage the existing direct shipping rules or build additional unnecessary hurdles, such as the recent proposal by the Illinois legislature, HR 2399 that would require warehouses that pick and pack wine for wineries to obtain a license and generate special monthly reports for the state on the shipments.
Nothing in the proposal would help the industry or enforcement. But it would increase the cost of warehousing to both the warehouse owner and consequently their customers. It would also have allowed the state to suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew a license to manufacture, distribute, or sell alcoholic liquor issued if that producer was found to have breached another state’s regulations.
The bill would have created additional costs and complexities to an already complex system, giving small producers extra hurdles to surpass with no benefit to the state or producers.
The Craft Wine Association opposed the legislation, along with Vinoshipper, the Wine Institute, Family Winemakers of California, Molson Coors, and the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Alliance, among others. Supported only by the wholesalers, the bill was defeated after its first policy hearing.
A coalition of regional and national groups lined up against the measure and pushed back on a bad policy originally conceived by the Uniform Law Commission, backed by the wholesalers. While the measure failed passage in Illinois, we expect to see versions of it in other states. Those interested in following our efforts can see the bills we track on our website here. As Margaret Mead once said, never underestimate what can be achieved by a small group of committed activists.
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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