Wine Wholesaslers: “Everyone’s Incompetent But Us”
It struck me as I was reading a news report of the dire situation Arizona wineries find themselves in (thanks to wine middlemen) that the wine wholesalers who want to convince legislators to stop all forms of direct shipment and direct sales by wineries are making a very unique argument:
"EVERYONE IS INCOMPETENT BUT US WHOLESALERS!"
In Arizona the wholesalers are pushing a bill that would forbid Arizona wineries from selling direct to consumers and selling direct to retailers. Arizona wineries have had this right for more than 20 years.
Wholesalers are arguing that Arizona’s and out-of-state wineries would not properly collect and remit to the state taxes they collect on the wine they sell. Now, what makes them think this? Arizona wineries have been doing this for more than two decades without no problems at all.
Then there is Mark Osborn, a lobbyist for the Protect 21 Coalition, a hastily created organization financed largely
by wholesalers that opposes direct shipping of wine. According to a news report Osborne said "there is no way to ensure that wine ordered by
phone or the Internet is actually going to someone of legal drinking
The winery sponsored bill in Arizona, HB 2500, that allows wineries to continue to sell wine direct, requires that delivery people get an adult signature when delivering wine. But, again according to new reports: "Osborn said he doubts busy drivers working for package delivery
services will enforce the provision."
Is everyone incompetent in the wholesaler’s world except the wine wholesalers?
Also from the same article:
"Susie Stevens, lobbyist for Alliance Beverage Distributing, a licensed
wholesaler, said her company is not trying to put the wineries out of
business. She said, though, they should be required to distribute their
product through the same system that applies to virtually all other
She doesn’t say why this should be the case…probably because that would require she acknowledge that wholesalers believe this should be the case simply so they can make more money. "We want to protect our profits by having government mandate no competition" probably isn’t the best argument in the world.
What’s interesting is that if you look on Ms. Steven’s boss’s website, you’ll see they list no Arizona winery as a client. This Arizona wine wholesaler apparently does not represent a single Arizona winery. Yet, they want to stop them from self distributing and selling directly to the public. It’s an outrageous claim that could only be made by a company so steeped in years of feeling some sort of entitlement and that has not experienced any sort of competitive environment.