Predictions For Direct Shipping of Wine in 2009
I think the development of the direct shipping channel is still in its early stages. I think a great number of changes will come to this channel. Issues of access, technology, legality and logistics are still in flux. The profit upside for committed and smart players in the business of direct shipping of wine is pretty big, be they wineries, logistics companies, service providers or tech companies. And I think that 2009 will be an important year in the development of this channel.
With that said, here are my predictions for what will happen in 2009 around the issue of the direct shipping of wine:
1. Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico, Iowa, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington State will all alter their legal posture toward direct shipment of wine.
2. A major expose will be written in a large daily newspaper about the excessive and inappropriate control wine distributors have over consumer access to wine.
3. At least 2 Circuit Courts of Appeal will rule that states may not discriminate against out-of-state wine retailers where the direct shipment of wine is concerned.
4. The Supreme Court will not accept a case in 2009 regarding wine shipments
5. Consumers will begin to become much more vocal about their desire to have access to wine via direct shipment and will become more involved in the political process that revolves around direct shipments of wine.
6. Importers will begin to question the wisdom and legality of their exclusion from the direct shipment channel
7. The entire online wine shipping sector will find a higher profile as more, larger entities finally enter the market and begin marketing wine nationally.
8. "Manager of Online Marketing and Hospitality" will be a position that wineries across the country begin to aggressively recruit for, bringing into the wine industry individuals previously unassociated with wine.
9. Wholesalers will make another set of creative and last ditched efforts to impose self-serving regulations on the direct shipment of wine in states where regulations are set to change.
10. By year's end, the issue of Winery Self Distribution will become a critical issue for wineries in numerous states, leading to more lawsuits and severe political battles.
11. FERMENTATION will publish an editorial condemning the cynical, self-serving and anti-consumer elements of the wholesale tier.