Why Are Napa Valley Wineries Seeking to Harm Wine Drinkers?
In 2015 LESS THAN on half of one percent of Napa Valley’s grape crop was sold to out-of-state wineries and home winemakers. And the vast majority of those grapes that were made into wine in another state will be sold in that state and will say right on the bottle, “Napa Valley”, “2015”. The point is that the labeling will be 100% accurate.
However, the Napa Valley Vintners and the California Wine Institute are making the case that this shouldn’t be allowed, because…..well, because “Napa Valley”.
The Napa Valley Register recently covered the Vintners’ and the Wine Institute’s effort to stop this practices of out-of-state wineries properly labeling wine. They, along with CA Representative Mike Thompson, want to change the rules so that a winery outside CA that purchases grapes from California and finishes the wine in their state can only place “American” on the label as the origin of the grapes, rather than the actual place the grapes came from.
Why do this? Why make it more difficult for consumers to know what they are drinking? Napa Valley grapegrower Andy Beckstoffer has an answer:
“I’m very concerned about the quality of wine that goes to the consumer with Napa Valley on it and the ability to control that when it’s made in a winery out-of-state is majorly decreased. There’s a culture here in Napa of quality and I’m not sure that extends to Des Moines, Iowa.”
Has Andy tasted some of the wines that were made in Napa Valley from Napa Valley grapes? He has. That culture of quality only extends so far in the Valley and he knows it.
The tactics being taken by the Napa Valley Vintners and the California Wine Institute remind me very much of the tactics of American wholesalers when they try to defend their opposition to direct shipping or when they try to defend the Franchise laws they love so much.
If you ever want to witness plain old, simple stupid, ask a wholesaler to tell you why direct shipments are bad and Franchise laws are good. It’s like listening to a fox rail against hen-house technology.
The Napa Valley Vintners and the California Wine Institute are playing the same zero sum, plain old, stupid rhetoric game. There is no concern for the consumer whatsoever and no concern for the industry. Just themselves.
The Feds are now in the process of determining of the consumers should be given less information about the wines they buy. Let’s hope they side with the consumers and the wine industry rather than the Fox.