The Heart of Darkness

Let’s go into the heart of darkness. Let’s examine the center of cynicism in the world of wine:

"It is cynical to say you support people just because of the power
shift," he said. "But clearly when the power in Congress changes, there
is a tendency to support those who wield authority."

-CRAIG WOLF, CEO, Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Association

This is Mr. Wolf’s commentary on the fact that his organization has "decided  to shift his group’s donations so that two-thirds will go to Democrats rather  than, as before, to Republicans"

How much will wholesalers spend on federal candidates before the election in November is over? Well over $1,000,000. When you add to this the fact that alcohol wholesalers across the country will likely break their previous record for giving to state political campaigns in a single year ($19.2 Million in 2006), you have a very good indication why the vast majority of laws concerning access to alcohol by adults are anti-consumer, pro-monopoly and a shining beacon for cynics the world over.

How is it that America’s wine-related laws can still be largely based on decades old assumptions, stifle the growth of the American wine market, needlessly criminalize consumers, take millions of dollars in tax revenue out of the states’ coffers and demonstrate a complete lack of concern or respect for consumers kept in place?

Consider this nugget from the Chicago Tribune article:

"He (Craig Wolf) believes in giving to friends in Congress, both Democrat and
Republican, who can help his organization. He believes in helping
friends stay in office, especially when they have power in Congress.
And he likes to make friends with the new arrivals in Congress, who can
ultimately help his group."

This is hardly news, nor should it be shocking, to those who have watched politics in America for any amount of time or who have observed the way the politics of wine are played in America. However, it is a great reminder of what the consumer and the entire wine industry is up against: The Very Heart of Darkness.


2 Responses

  1. swirlingnotions - February 6, 2008

    So interesting. I’m so glad you write posts like this . . . there’s such crap going on in distribution regulation and yet so little news on it filters out to the public. What do you think about Free the Grapes? (

  2. Mark McKinley - February 21, 2008

    What about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on 2/20/08 in Maine for tobacco? The shipping companies (UPS & Fedex) are now exempt from enforcing or being responsible state laws to tobacco shipments. The carriers no longer need to be burdened on different state laws with tobacco. How does this relate with wine shipments? This could help the wine shipments correct?

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