Maryland Wine Sellers Go Begging For Welfare Instead of Work
If all goes according to plan, tomorrow Maryland wine lovers will finally be heard when they head to Annapolis to explain to legislators why it's finally time to to pass a law allowing wine to be shipped to them. Then, also according to plan, Committees in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates will pass out legislation that allows Marylanders to have wine shipped to their home…except for wines that are of French, Spanish, German, Italian, Austrian, Canadian, Chilean, Argentinean, New Zealand, Australian or Mexican origin.
Any other wine of a non-domestic origin…along with Auction House wines, rare wines, wines from Wine-of-the-month clubs, and even older domestic wines will be generally banned from being shipped to Marylanders.
All these wines that Maryland wine lovers will likely be banned from having shipped to them are sold by wine stores, Wine-of-the-Month clubs and Auction House….in other words, not American wineries.
Besides being a blatant slap in the face to Maryland wine consumers who have been fighting for years to open their state to wine shipments, it's pretty bizarre public policy, not to mention one more indication that too many in the wine business fear their own incompetence.
The Maryland Senators and Delegates that will support this protectionist, anti-free trade plan for wine shipping will do so because Maryland wholesalers and a powerful clique of Maryland retailers have asked them to. And that's the only reason. Why they are likely to agree to the wholesalers' and retailers' request is another issue that is best left to those wanting to discuss campaign finance reform.
Try to imagine the response of these same Senators and Delegates if local travel agents came to them and demanded that Marylanders not be allowed to buy airline tickets from out of state travel agents. Imagine the look on their face if Maryland food wholesalers and retailers came to them and asked that Maryland consumers not be able to have Maine Lobster or Wisconsin cheese shipped into the state to consumers. Imagine with me the furrowed brows that would appear on the faces of Maryland Senators and Delegates when owners of local shoe boutiques came to them and demanded that Zappos be banned from shipping shoes to Maryland women from out of state.
Even better, what if local booksellers demanded Maryland pass a law that allowed the University of CA Press to ship books to Marylanders, but that out of state retailers like Amazon and Powells be banned from doing the same.
The laughter that would ensue would cave in the Capitol.
What reason could these Maryland lawmakers give for their willingness to do for wine retailers and wholesalers what they would never do for anyone else?
"Del. Charles E. Barkley…said House Bill 1175 is in response to concerns he has heard from retailers who are worried they might lose business to larger out-of-state wineries or wine merchants."
Del. Tom Hucker said “It just makes sense to give in-state retailers a leg up on the out-of-state retailers like Wine.com.”
You don't see Maryland booksellers, Maryland shoe sellers, Maryland food purveyors nor Maryland travel agents come to Annapolis and beg lawmakers to protect them from competition. And all these companies have competition from across the country and from Internet sales.
The difference is that these folks are real business people who have learned how to compete and work local markets and succeed inside modern economies. The Wholesalers and the retailers that support them in their attempt to be sheilded from competition and hard work act like welfare recipients who have forgotten how to do a hard days work.
Meanwhile there are the Maryland consumers…who once again will end up paying for those who can, but choose not to do an honest day's work.