The Mission of Family Winemakers
Family Winemakers of California is best known as the host of the most diverse and comprehensive wine tasting in America: The annual Family Winemakers Tasting in San Francisco.
Yet, the organization’s true mission is to support smaller, family-owned wineries. That was the mission when a small group of vintners such as Bill MacIver of Matanzas Creek Winery, Brice Jones of Sonoma Cutrer and Patrick Campbell of Laurel Glen, all dissatisfied with the orientation of the California Wine Institute, choose to break off and start a new organization that would promote values important to smaller wineries.
Based on the editorial I read today in the Orlando Sentinel by Family Winemakers Executive Director Paul Kronenberg, that mission is alive and well:
"We believe distributor middlemen should compete based on delivering
service and value and think it is wrong that the distributors are
telling consumers which wines they can and cannot enjoy. America’s
3,500 wineries produce more than 10,000 new wines each vintage, more
wines than distributors can stock and sell. So why are distributors
restricting consumer access and threatening winemakers? One word, greed."
Paul’s editorial was in response to a wine wholesaler-supported initiative in Florida that only allow wineries under a certain size to ship wine direct to Floridians. It is a wholesaler protection law, as they all are.
And Paul is right. Wholesalers should be forced to compete based on the services and value they can deliver, rather than under the auspices of a state-mandated three tier system that amounts to state welfare for huge wine distribution companies.