Top Ten Ways to Make Wine Consumer Friendly
10. More Local Wine Columns
More wine columns in local daily newspapers means more coverage of the local wine scene. Whether it's in an on-line format or in the pulp edition, local wine columns put consumers in touch with wine happenings they can actually participate in.
9. More Local Wine
State governments, counties and local municipalities ought to make a point of promoting thier local wineries. By putting consumers in touch with and connecting them to their local producers, a greater opportunity to appreciate the true diversity of wine is created.
8. More BYOB in Restaurants
Believe it or not, certain states and regions prohibit consumers from bring their own wine into restaurants to drink. The absurdity of these provisions is difficult to fully appreciate. Giving consumers the chance to drink their wines in the company of a well-served meal is a better plan than prohibiting it for the sake of protecting purveyors of ordinary wine lists.
7. Direct-to-Trade Sales
Many states, in defense of the archaic state-mandated three tier system, prohibit wineries, breweries and distillers from selling wine directly to retailers. A direct result of this is less choice for consumers. Allowing direct-to-trade sales from suppliers to retailers would give wine consumers the choices they ought to have.
6. Allowing Sales on Sundays
The various bans on sales of wine and spirits on sunday is a leftover from the days when lawmakers often concocted laws based on the principle, "what would their Jesus do?" In this day and age, the continuance of bans on Sunday sales is just embarrassing and does nothing to aid consumers or communities. They should be removed from the books.
5. Defining Terms
It would benefit the consumer to institute definitions for certain terms that today go unregulated. First among these terms is "Old Vine". Any wine can carry this designation, regardless of the age of the vines the produced the grapes. Is a twenty year old vine really an "old" vine in the same way that a 100 year old vine is "old".
4. National Direct Shipping Regulations
Many wineries simply won't make their wines available for direct purchase because the cost of adhering to the various wine shipping regulations in the states tax time and funds. National legislation dictating how states may regulate direct shipment would go a long way toward easing this burden and making more wines available to consumers through direct shipping.
3. Get Governments Out of the Wine Sales and Distribution Business
Governments? In charge of retailing wine and spirits? It's not exactly that institution's specialty. The result, in places like Pennsylvania, is poor selection, poor services and uninspired help. Getting government out of the business of retailing and distributing would be a huge aid to consumers in various states.
2.Direct-To-Consumer Wine Shipping
There's simply no way any states' retailers can put all the wines consumers want on their shelves. While they work hard to serve their markets, they can't supply all wines. This is why direct to consumer shipping from wineries and retailers both in-state and out-of-state is the sure way to give consumers access to the true American wine marketplace.
1. Put Wine In Grocery Stores
States like New York, Tennessee, Kentucky and others prohibit the sale of wine in grocery stores. It's an obscene prohibition that supports the inertia of an archaic set of ideas that no longer sit on a foundation of truth, experience or community standards. Removing the prohibition on consumers buying a bottle of wine with their pasta and chicken in those states where it remains outlawed is the single most consumer friendly reform that could happen in any state.