No CAP for Florida Wine Consumers
The Florida legislature has apparently refused to pass a bill that would have put a cap on the size of the winery that is allowed to ship wine to Florida consumers. The Florida House passed a bill restricting direct shipping only to those wineries that produced 250,000 gallons of wine annually or less.
The cap provision is protectionism, pure and simple. It is a provision that protects large distributors from having to compete with the convenience that comes with direct shipping. Proponents of the protectionist measure argued that large wineries are more likely to produce inexpensive wine, which are more likely to be ordered by minors. Say it with me: HOGWASH!
Florida State Senator Paula Dockery has championed the cause of consumer access and introduced a competing bill into the Florida Senate that assured all wineries would be allowed to ship direct. Apparently the lobbying by Family Winemakers of California and the California Wine Institute helped quite a bit in stopping the wholesaler’s protectionist measure from passing. Kudos to Paul Kronenberg at Family Winemakers of California and the Wine Institute crowd.
For now, all wineries remain eligible for shipping to Florida consumers. It is likely that the protectionist Cap Law will return in the 2007 Florida legislative session.
The solution is simple: Leave the 3-tier system in place for those who want it. Let the rest of us live in a free society. It should not be a crime to enjoy wine or have access to it. This is one of the most regulated countries in the world and the result is it has the highest abuse rate. The fact is – no one can regulate abuse or greed.