Top Ten Ways to Make Wine Consumer Friendly

UswineHow many ways are there to improve the world of wine for consumers? At least 10!

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.


11 Responses

  1. Tom - November 16, 2011

    Good list. I’d add allowing retailers to sell to one another as well.

  2. Fredric Koeppel - November 16, 2011

    I would add allowing wine stores to sell openers, glasses and wine-friendly food items.
    For some reason, though Tennessee has been a direct shipment state since July 2009, many wineries and wine clubs still list Tennessee as a “no-ship” state. what’s behind that?

  3. chris - November 16, 2011

    How is New York still not allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores!! Great article keep up the good work.

  4. murray l. ross - November 18, 2011

    in pennsylvania any consumer may initiate a special order of wines
    i represent over 30 wineries including biale,arns,clark-claudon,cafaro,von strasser,robert foley and others
    i ship and store temp controlled and care about the wines i represent i price fairly given the PLCB taxes
    the proposed privatization will only increase costs to consumers based on the state mandated taxes proposed
    if you want really good wines in PA all you need to do is some research and special order them

  5. Susan - November 18, 2011

    You’ve made my day. After writing a column for an online site since the beginning of the year, they just started running the column in some local newspapers. It is encouraging to hear from someone with your reputation that the effort is worthwhile.

  6. Lisakhajavi - November 18, 2011

    Don’t even get me started about Utah….

  7. Wine of the Month Club - November 19, 2011

    The soil the vines are planted in is of paramount importance to the quality of the grapes. The red “terra rossa” soil, high in iron oxide and common to parts of the Napa Valley, Eastern Washington and the Sierra foothills, has been responsible, to some extent, for the hearty Cabernet Sauvignons produced in those regions.

  8. Gretchen - November 19, 2011

    A perfect list! I wish we could convince our legislators to attend to the real business of government instead of micro-managing wine drinkers.

  9. TiaG - November 25, 2011

    Great list. Thank you!

  10. Kris Chislett - November 26, 2011

    Great post Tom. Wish I’d have thought of it first! I’d love to dedicate a whole to #5 itself.

  11. - December 7, 2011

    How come you didn’t mention Millenials? Or at least the 21-25 drinking crowd if you don’t prefer the millenial label the way I don’t. I’ve heard both sides of the spectrum, how this age group (myself included) needs to be seduced into drinking wine early for a profitable consumer in the long run. As well as how millenials aren’t special because the wine market it growing regardless. So I guess my real question is with an article based on how to make wine more approachable; a younger often age discriminated drinking crowd was not a stratagey. Granted you only had room for 10. Could this topic make the 11 slot? I work in direct sales of wine in a tasting room setting as well as a farmers market (super difficult sell when your not tasting). I find he 21-25 market extreamly easy to please if you just give them the validation of being there as well as a little education. So do you think this age group is worth the wine industry putting a little extra muscle into or not? Love to your hear your input.

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