Creating a Real Voice For American Wine Consumers
Why is it that when states and Congress consider laws and regulations concerning consumer access to wine, the actual consumers are never consulted? Producers are consulted. Restaurants are consulted. Regulators are consulted. And wholesalers are consulted. But never consumers of wine. Why?
The reason is so remarkably simple: Wine Consumers don’t have a voice through which their interests can be communicated.
Anyone who has ever dealt directly with issues of direct shipping of wine, wine in grocery stores, blue laws, personal importation limits and other issues that deal specifically with how consumers access wine know that the game changer is to get the actual consumer directly involved in the politics.
There are extraordinarily relevant models for consumer voices that work and that change the political game when they charge into action: The Consumer Union, The National Rifle Association. The American Association of Retired People are just a few.
If the interests of wine lovers are ever to truly be considered when laws are passed concerning access not just to wine but also to beer and spirits, consumers must have an organized and active voice.
The American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC) is in the advanced planning stages. It possesses a very talented and dedicated board of directors, a well vetted business plan, a website hub currently under constructiion, a very reasonable dues structure, and partners are currently being recruited.
The AWCC is currently recruiting member benefits providers, obtaining its non-profit status, designing its issues platform, consulting with consumers across the country on those issue key to them, planning its launch and preparing to introduce to lawmakers and regulators and the media a real voice for wine consumers.
In a way, the fact that such an organization does not already exist is remarkable. Wine drinkers tend to vote in far greater numbers than the average American. They tend to consume news in greater numbers. And they are, above all, a social group.
If you want an idea of what a consumer group can do, consider that in Marylanders would never have earned their right to have wine shipped to them this year had it not been for the multi-year effort of Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws. This organization continually gathered members and continually pushed for better access to wine for Marylanders. It worked.
The American Wine Consumer Coalition will begin as a national organization of wine consumers that works in various statehouses and Congress to represent consumers, that works to see wine consumer interests represented in the media and that provides members with benefit that will help them pursue their wine education and their desire to include wine in their lifestyle. Imagine events, conventions, travel opportunities, discounts on wine related items and reading materials.
Additionally, state chapters will be formed and the AWCC board is currently recruiting active and dedicated wine lovers willing to chair those state chapters. This element of the AWCC will be crucial to its success. By all means, contact me if you are willing to step up and take the reigns in your state.
Americans now drink more wine than citizens of any other country. They ought to be represented and given a voice, rather than be pawns for powerful industry players that seek to protect their own interests at the expense of wine consumers and their interests.
Right now, in advance of its launch, the American Wine Consumer Coaltion is gathering supporters at a Facebook Page. I urge you to join that page and stay informed.
What else can you do to help get the AWCC off the ground?
1. If you are in the industry and provide a service or product to consumer and want to be a benefits provider for members, contact me.
2. If you are a wine, beer or spirit producer or an industry association that wants to get on board as a supporting member, the fees are low and I urge you to contact me to sign up.
3. Active supporters of wine consumers’ rights that are willing to step up and be a state chapter chair, contact me.
4. If you are willing to make a contribution to the AWCC as an angel supporter, contact me and let’s talk.
5. Go “like” the American Wine Consumer Coaltion Facebook page and stay informed
6. Spread the word the a Voice for Wine Consumers is coming.