From the Department of Irony: Wine Wholesalers & Sarah Palin


Irony I'm don't think I have any words to add to this comic turn of events….Wait a minute…we all know that's not true. Of course I have some words to add.

First, the above headline, written by the PR department of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association is unusually disrespectful. I'm sure she is supposed to be referred to as GOVERNOR Palin, whether she hightailed it out of Juneau before the term she asked Alaskans to allow her to serve was up or not.

However, that's not the most disrespectful thing that could be said about Ms. Palin. I'm sure this is more disrespectful:

Governor Palin is without a doubt the most prominent political pretender we've watched come on to the scene in decades. You hear backhanded compliments, questioning remarks and heavy sighs coming out of the mouths of many folks when they refer to her or her words and actions. But what you don't hear about her quite enough is the truth: This woman is a political dolt who could not construct even a semi-complex policy statement if she had the entire weight of the Republican Party in her corner…Oh wait…she did, didn't she.

And yet a heavyweight organization like the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Association (WSWA) still decided to pursue her and pay her many multi-thousand dollar fee (said to be $100,000) to speak in front of their collective membership at their annual convention in Vegas in April.

Now, the head of WSWA, Craig Wolf, is on the wrong side of nearly every regulatory issue of importance to wineries and retailers in America. But he's not a dumb guy. He's a smart guy. I've met him. I've talked to him. He's a smart guy who I assume just hasn't thought through his economically-obscene, industry-diminishing, and intellectually dishonest positions on alcohol distribution, sales and regulations.

So, I have to believe that today, at this moment, after lending his name to a press release announcing Palin's attendance at his annual conference and having to toot her horn, Craig Wolf is probably wincing, shaking his head and having a hard time sleeping—out of embarrassment.

The meat of Wolf's statement in today's press release announcing Governor Palin's talk at the WSWA conference is this:

“Governor Palin is a great supporter of America’s free enterprise
system and understands that industries like the beverage alcohol
industry play a key role in driving our national economy. We're proud
and honored to welcome her as a speaker,” stated Craig Wolf, WSWA’s
president and CEO. “We expect she will share with the convention
attendees her analysis of the current political environment and her
vision for America’s future,” Wolf added."

What seems so odd to me is that WSW would laud Governor Palin's support of "Free Enterprise" when WSWA is perhaps the most vigilant opponent of Free Enterprise. WSWA has spent millions of dollars working to convince Americans that it is imperative manufacturers and retailers of alcoholic beverage have no real choices in how they choose to sell wine. They've argued that manufacturers of wine, beer and spirits be forced to sell through wholesalers whether the wholesaler is needed or not. They've argued in the public space and in front of judges that consumers ought not be able to purchase the products they want if wholesalers don't want them to purchase them. And, get this, wholesalers have OPPOSED the sale of wine in grocery stores. Free Enterprise, anyone?

Hell, since Governor Palin is such a supporter of Free Enterprise maybe she can actually introduce the WSWA and its members to what the concept really means. But of course, that would require the Governor to be able to articulate a well thought out position on Free Enterprise and the three-tier system.

I'm not holding my breath.

44 Responses

  1. Winebizradio - January 12, 2010

    TWO posts in one day about the wine wholesalers!
    We are trying to get media credentials to the WSWA, partly to partake in the spectacle that will undoubtedly be Sarah Palin’s speech to the attendees, but also to try and get time with Craig Wolf to get his take first-hand on direct shipment.
    Excellent post, as usual. We miss having you in the studio with us…

  2. Tom Wark - January 12, 2010

    Drop my name with Craig. Maybe that will help with the credentialing.

  3. Catie - January 12, 2010

    I am trying not to be snide and petty, but I really don’t believe that Palin understands this issue.
    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this news.

  4. GrapeEnvyGuy - January 12, 2010

    I don’t see the confusion. Palin and her ilk are all about EXACTLY the sort of Free Enterprise (hey- if it’s capitalized, does that mean it’s a brand, like Real cheese?) that the wholesale folks are. Don’tcha know, you betcha, big wink. Ugh. Barf.

  5. Scott Osborn - January 13, 2010

    its amazing they support free enterprise yet they oppose the sale of wine in food stores in New York thereby supporting a monopoly.

  6. Craig Wolf - January 13, 2010

    Give me a call – happy to work on getting credentials for you and glad you are interested in coming to the Convention. And happy to set up an interview at some point. Craig

  7. Chicago Pinot - January 13, 2010

    >>>And yet a heavyweight organization like the Wine & >>>Spirit Wholesalers Association (WSWA) still decided >>>to pursue her and pay her many multi-thousand >>>dollar fee (said to be $100,000)
    Is that plus or minus clothing expenses?

  8. Tim - January 13, 2010

    WOW, I cannot believe that they are serious at the old boy association – wswa. Honestly Tom I thought when I read this tidbit today that it must be April 1 early and after thirty years in this business I can say that I have not seen it all. Last year the association had Carville and Matalin and they got their money’s worth on that. Tom , frankly you would have been a better pick. The last thing that the adult beverage business needs is to be connected to a poser. I am still in disbelief on their choice for 2010…Tim

  9. David - January 13, 2010

    Good thing Fox offered former Alaska Governor and Vice President candidate Sarah Palin a multi-year contract (debut last night) so we can hear more brilliant “common sense conservative solutions…” in her new role as a news analyst.

  10. mydailywine - January 13, 2010

    Yep, I thought it was a joke too when I first read the news on FB yesterday.
    She didn’t help McCain much, so I assume she will have the same effect on the good old boy club at WSWA.
    Must be hard for them to breathe….with their heads so firmly in the sand.

  11. Tom - January 13, 2010

    For a healthy fee, Palin will gladly be the tool of hypocrisy. Once they catch your eye by waving the free enterprise flag, they’ll stab you in the back. It’s first class propaganda.

  12. Winebizradio - January 13, 2010

    Thanks Craig, I’ll be in touch.

  13. 1WineDude - January 13, 2010

    Yeah – what HE said!
    Go get ’em, Tom!!

  14. Catie - January 13, 2010

    I decided to hell with not being snide and petty.
    I betcha anything that Palin will make up a cute new slogan for the WSWA: “Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Death Panels”, don’tcha know.

  15. Jack - January 13, 2010

    Isn’t this really a $100,000 donation and that they expect to get their money’s worth someday?

  16. Bubblywine - January 13, 2010

    My thoughts were exactly the same. Wholesalers have apparently done everything possible to restrict free trade and free enterprise, and someone should tell the gov the whole story. Who knows, maybe some good could come of it? Any volunteers to “teach” her?

  17. The Wine Mule - January 13, 2010

    She’s not a Governor anymore. She quit. Now she’s a talking head on Fox.

  18. Deanne - January 20, 2010

    The members might ask Palin her family association with Wine & Spirits in that as this is written she has a 15 year old recently all lawyered up who is doing everything he can avoiding charges of underage drinking and B&E. It’s not new for her as her pics appeared in tabloids months ago. Same with her oldest daughter who at the time of the VP campaign, her myspace was scrubbed of her underage drunken pics. Even now, her oldest son, underage for AK, in the military, can be found in the bars in AK most anytime.
    What a wonderful example she brings to the table. As she stands at the podium in her short skirt looking like eye candy to the gathering of old white boys who think with their heads – the wrong one – preaching her great family values and knowledge. I should say total lack of knowledge. Yet, as she travels on this and other paid speaking events seeking the limelight, the money, she forgets and neglects that she has potential alcoholics at home. But there’s money to be made so she can’t let them get in the way of her spotlight now. The two youngest, one only misses more school than she goes to being dragged with her little brother as a prop on campaigns, tours, etc. The baby who should be under intense therapy at an age proven to be more beneficial for gainful life needs, yet goes without it for those same long length of times. My heart breaks for him having one of my own with same needs.
    How could she ever be held up as someone you should listen to. When she says she can do it all – proof is above and she’s failed miserably. 5 kids – the 3 oldest still underage could probably drink half the Association under the table.
    Your hiring her makes you look the fools — not her. She’s in it for the money. As fast as she can grow her bank account before the lights on stage go out.

  19. JustMe - January 20, 2010

    Well, OF COURSE she can talk about alcohol – after all, her 15 year old was just busted for breaking and entering into a vacant house, and having a HUGE alcohol-driven party there…

  20. icarus - January 21, 2010

    And Palin just hates those lobbyists…unless the pay is right.

  21. MrsPTC - April 15, 2010

    Did you ever get your hands on a transcript of the speech?

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