An Open Letter: Defeating the Devil

Tom Wark
Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog
Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Dear Massachusetts Voters:

I can’t stress how pleased I am at the leadership, both moral and practical, that you have shown in your defeat yesterday of Question 1: "Should wine be sold in stores where food is also sold?"

Your opponents in this epic battle claimed they merely wanted the convenience of picking up a bottle of Pinot Noir to go with their  peppered steak, all while under the same roof, all while shopping in one grocery  store. You saw through that charade of an argument and pointed out that to allow Cabernet to be sold next to cabbage was in fact the work of the Devil who, as we know, is engaged in a campaign to get 18 year olds to drink wine.

Your puritan forefathers understood clearly that convenience is the handmaiden of evil. And, like you in yesterday’s battle, they took on the witchcraft and won.  In your historic vote yesterday you had wine and food-pairing heathens consumed by the proverbial bonfire of righteousness. Your community is once again safe from the evils of presenting chicken next to Chardonnay.

The battled against that boozemonger Satan is not over. Currently His minions within the California booze mongering alliance, are attacking the great state of Massachusetts. They want to open up your moralistic commonwealth to the insidious dangers of wine shipments. Hold strong. Embrace the your allies in the wholesale and distribution trade, those angels of moderation, who helped win this most recent election and who oppose the Devil’s children in California who would have your good neighbors actually ordering wine, willy nilly, via the Internet. Hold Strong!!

Your work is not done, but your victory against the evil of pork and Pinot resting on neighboring shelves is secured.


Tom Wark


10 Responses

  1. Deidre - November 8, 2006

    You are brilliant! I suffered under Massachusetts blue laws for years. It’s so nice to be in California and able to get wine just about anywhere.

  2. tom - November 8, 2006

    You’re kind to comment and to offer praise. I’ve sat and thought about the attitude that defeated Question 1. I find I’m actually incapable of even imagining it. Surely it’s my time living in CA that has made this advance in conseptualizatiion impossible for me.
    Welcome to CA!!

  3. Pattie - November 9, 2006

    I am amazed at the people in Massachusetts. Just this past weekend I was in Target looking over the selection of wines they had on display near all the Thanksgiving dinner ingredients. Then I realized I was in TARGET looking at WINE! I have never been so grateful to live in Illinois. We may have a pile of corrupt politicians, but at least they believe in one-stop shopping.

  4. JB - November 9, 2006

    Nicely done. I’m writing from Boston. My sense is that this is one of those issues where the people weren’t (to be polite) very well-informed and the “Vote Yes” folks were nearly invisible, as far as I could tell, at the end. However, every time I set foot in a liquor store over the last few months, I was inundated with posters and literature from the “Vote No” crowd–full of the usual lying … sorry, misinformation … familiar to anyone who has followed the shipping debate. I don’t watch much TV, but I gather that there were lots of “Vote No” commercials running over the last few weeks, and, according to the Globe, they seem to have worked. Hopefully the battle over shipping will go a bit better.

  5. Steve Bachmann - November 9, 2006

    An article on today titled “Distilling the shift in the wine vote” had the following quote from the Somerville Police Chief who was used as an instrument in the battle by the liquor industry to defeat Question 1.
    “It’s not just about wine in supermarkets,” he said. “It’s about convenience stores. It’s about gas station minimarts being able to sell alcohol. That’s what we’re talking about here. Don’t be fooled by Question 1.”
    What are they afraid of? The implicit statement being made here is that we cannot trust just any licensed parties to enforce age compliance, only those who “specialize” in selling alcohol. Why shouldn’t someone 21+ years old be able to legally buy their alcohol anywhere they want? This is all part of the campaign by wholesalers to drive all alcohol sales transactions into a distribution channel they can fully control to protect their legislated monopolistic profits at the expense of consumer convenience, choice and price.

  6. Winehound - November 9, 2006

    Unfortunately, there are far more dollars being spent to preserve the status quo than to change it. The wholesalers spent $11M (!) in MA to influence public opinion and get their “protect the youth of America” propaganda associated with this measure. It’s akin to the linkage of the Iraq war with Patriotism – no one wants to appear to be encouraging drinking by minors, so they steer clear of opposing the position of the wholesalers. (Of course, as a California ABC examiner once told me, minors are actually getting their booze at the same kind of liquor stores that were behind this measure in MA, but that story was not heard.)

  7. Terry Hughes - November 10, 2006

    Massachusetts and booze…a state of big drinkers who like to prove, every so often, that they can handle the stuff.
    Your son of the oulde sod and native of the Bay state…

  8. Old guy - November 11, 2006

    I’m a Massachusetts resident, and avid wine drinker, who voted against Prop. 1. I didn’t take seriously any of the nonsense put out by either the supermarkets or the liquor establishment. My decision was based on this: supermarkets and convenience stores don’t have infinite space. If they are allowed to sell wine, that will mean replacing one or more aisles of food with wine. As it is, the things I like to buy in food stores are not the highest volume food items. They will be the first to be sacrificed by cheesy wine that I don’t want. Why do I want to see stuff I buy in supermarkets disappear, replaced by yet more Yellowtail or Turning Leaf chardonnay?

  9. VinoJoe - November 13, 2006

    Does anyone consider that wine in supermarkets might finish off the few small-time wine shops that are still around? It’s bad enough that the little guys are getting crushed by massive chains and buying groups … now you want to extend that to supermarkets?
    Small, chainless wine shops tend to carry more interesting bottles and have more personal service. Yes it would be nice to buy a bottle of Forest Glen, Gallo, or other supersize winery at the supermarket while picking up a steak, but not at the expense of losing out on lesser-known, smaller-production wines — which may not be as easily available if the small shops are squeezed out.

  10. wineboy! - November 14, 2006

    At least Terry Hughes thought about why he voted the way he did. I was stationed in Germany once for 2 years and they have “booze” everywhere, I mean they have beer machines, the gas stations sell the stuff and you can still go to the supermarket’s and get really good wine with your chicken. I would still stand for the “free market” anytime. But, I am a Libertarian after all ( some people think we are anarchist though)

Leave a Reply