Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New Michigan wine shipping law

The controversy over the proposed new wine shipping law in Michigan is cooling down a bit. The consensus is that the state senate bill will incorporate some compromises. Hopefully, they will allow the wineries to sell directly to the retailers, and will impose rules on direct shipping.

Ad hoc organizations such as and have done a good job of informing everyone. Both sites have excellent commentary by the best writers in the state.

The shipping-to-consumers portion gets the most attention. However, the ability to sell directly to retailers is of far more business importance to wineries. We (Raftshol Vineyards) ship to out of state customers and urge in state customers to order through a nearby retailer. This saves the customer the shipping cost. The retailer gets to see a new face in his/her store. We get the retailer's good will and make another delivery stop. Win-win-win all the way around.

We wonder about the majority of Michigan wineries that distribute through wholesalers. They complain about the lack of acceptance that Michigan wines are receiving. They complain that they have to mark their wines down too much and that the wholesalers don't make enough effort on their behalf.

All they really get is a listing in an inventory book. Probably the distributor's rep is a driver with sore feet and a schedule to meet. And do they really expect the retailer to put much effort into presenting a wine he/she hasn't personally tasted?

The state legislature has been bought and paid for. The $683,000 came from a joint effort by MBWWA and AFD. MBWWA is a beer and wine wholesalers organization. AFD is a group of failing grocery stores in bad locations. They also lobby for laws that penalize chain stores. Both groups are as anti-consumer as it gets. The breakdown on the money is that every legislator in the state House and Senate was offered more than $4,000 each. We've heard that 13 out of 110 members of the House turned the money down. It would be nice to think that there are 13 honest people in the House.

If you'd like to find out if your representative took the money go to money. When you enter your zip code, your representative's face and email address pops up. Send him/her the following message : HOW MUCH OF THAT FILTHY MBWWA/AFD MONEY DID YOU PUT IN YOUR POCKET?