Archive for the ‘Politics of Wine’ Category

Two things you can do about H.R. 5034

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010


Stop H.R. 5034

Stop H.R. 5034

In the last month, an insidious piece of proposed legislation has been introduced for discussion in the House of Representatives.

H.R. 5034, the “Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2010” (cynically: “CARE”) is being sold as a Public Safety/Health and State’s Rights bill. It is not. It is an economic power grab by the National Beer Wholesalers and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.

The reason why this bill is important to all wine lovers (and to those who care about Central Coast wines) is that this bill will absolutely kill the small-production wineries which make up a large part of the Central Coast wine landscape. With that will go jobs and economic stability (or what ever semblance of it the Central Coast wine industry currently has). (more…)

Is the OpenWine Consortium aimlessly adrift?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009


Is the OWC out of steam? (derived from Wine Bloggers Conference logo)

Is the OWC out of steam?

I joined the OpenWine Consortium when its membership numbered only a few hundred. I saw the OWC as something with potential to help the industry: it could organize bloggers, raise the bar for online wine publishing, create some educational programs and help wine producers and budding wine commentators build their brands. As I write this, the OWC boasts 4,613 members.

Other than organizing the Wine Bloggers Conferences, the OWC offers a forum for discussions. However, it has been months since I last saw any active efforts to organize members or truly accomplish something of impact for the wine industry. Certainly, the WBC is the most successful effort of the OWC, but as some have commented, rather than helping the industry learn how to harness the Internet and Social Media, these events have been criticized as being primarily press junkets for wine bloggers. (more…)

A father’s wish

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


Two weeks ago I wrote about a commentary supporting lowering the legal drinking age in the US.

Today, Toben F. Nelson and Traci L. Toomey, both faculty members at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health have offered a commentary in support of keeping the legal drinking age at 21. (more…)

That will fix everything!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009


A commentary on by John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College in Vermont asserts that the legal drinking age of 21 has not curbed on-campus binge drinking – or the problems that come with it.

As with many arguments of this sort, the commentary misses the core of the problem: no legal drinking age, by itself, will ever be successful in curbing binge drinking or the injuries and fatalities that stem from it.

Furthermore, I do not believe any amount of education, heart-to-heart chats, preaching, scare tactics, etc can put a serious dent in the statistics McCardell cites. (more…)

It just got harder to make money on the Internet

Friday, September 11th, 2009


According to Wine Industry Insight, wine sites and blogs based in California cannot advertise wine sales sites in the context of commission-based affiliate programs.

It appears, on first glance, that California-based bloggers and site operators would have to pull affiliate ad banners. This would adversely affect web site and blog owners who seek to monetize their content through this route.

It is not clear if this is an absolute, categorical ban or if site operators could acquire an ABC license of some sort.

No details on the ruling or the rationale or precedent behind it yet.

More to come…

Could ObamaCare kill beer, wine and spirits?

Thursday, August 20th, 2009


Dr. Obama. From:

Dr. Obama

This country needs better health care. A requisite to successful and equitable administration of any publicly funded, universal coverage system is cost containment. A pillar of that is preventive care. That means getting the population to avoid doing things which will predispose them to chronic and, ultimately costly, conditions. It’s obvious that combating obesity and smoking should be at the top of the priority list.

What about alcohol consumption?

While moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with some health benefits, humans (in general) are not apt to practice restraint in most aspect of their lives. And lack of restraint carries consequences. (more…)

French wine policies: more questions than answers

Monday, February 23rd, 2009


"Straw Man". From:

"Straw Man". From:

Something strange is happening in France. The country, whose identity only 20-some years ago included a culture and appreciation of wine, appears to be under siege of an anti-alcohol faction. Most recently, we see evidence of this in ludicrous statements by the nation’s Ministry of Health that consumption of even small amounts of wine increases the risk of cancer.

I am a proponent of evidence-based medicine. This statement, however, is based on bad science. While the commentary on the Ministry’s assertion, or what appears to be the execution of an agenda, is strongly negative, I am at a loss for finding any background information for how this anti-alcohol trend in France came about. Other than blaming the teetotalism of President Sarkozy, the commentators whose writings on the matter I have read to date, offer no insights into more substantial and meaningful explanation of why France is experiencing this anti-alcohol movement. (more…)