The Solution is At Hand…Rejoice
"It’s just a matter of time before we all end
up in court"
—Mike Wittenwyler, Attorney for Wisconsin Wine & Spirit Distributors
What would Mike and the Wisconsin wine and spirit distributors do without me? Luckily, I’m on job and can explain in simple terms how they and the state of Wisconsin can avoid ending up in court. But first some background.
In Wisconsin it was legal for Wisconsin wineries to sell and deliver wine directly to retailers. they were not forced by law to sell their wine to a wine distributor who may or may not have sold the wine to retailers and who don’t know nearly as much about the Wisconsin winery’s brand and wines and who most of the Wisconsin wineries wanted nothing to do with..thank you very much.
However, Wisconsin did not allow out-of-state wineries to go around the wholesaler and sell directly to Wisconsin retailers. That’s a constitutional "no no".
The wholesaler’s solution? Make it all fair by taking away the Wisconsin winery’s right to sell directly to retailers and force them to sell their wine to wholesalers. The Wisconsin wineries will make less profit. They’ll have far less control over the marketing of their wines. But, Wisconsin would be in compliance with the constitution and Wisconsin wholesalers would make more profit.
The Governor of Wisconsin vetoed this approach, which led Mr. Wittenwyler to offer his dire prediction that "It’s just a matter of time before we all end
up in court".
Fear not, Mr. Wittenwyler. I have the solution:
Allow all wineries, whether in Wisconsin or outside Wisconsin to sell and ship directly to retailers. This approach has a number of benefits:
1. It is an embrace of free trade.
2. It rejects commercial restrictions.
3. It rejects protectionism.
4. It helps Wisconsin wineries
5. It assures greater selection for retailers and customers
6. It is not unconstitutional
There you go Mr. Wittenwyler. Sleep soundly tonight. The answer to your worries is hence offered.
More on this issue can be found at the Specialty Wine Retailers Association Blog, "Wine Without Borders".