Stop The Wine Tariffs
The threatened 100% tariffs on wines from the EU will result in a number of American wine importers closing down and going out of business. The proposed 100% tariffs on wines from the European Union will wreck a great number of small independent wine stores and wine bars. Many of the remaining small wholesalers will also be knocked for a loop. But don’t worry. Total Wine & More will survive. So will Southern Glazers.
But, in the end, at least Boeing will be on better financial footing if and when the tariffs do their job and subsidies for Airbus are revoked or lowered by the Europeans. So that should be a potent silver lining for the many folks who lose their jobs and businesses in the wake of a long tariff war.
If you are wondering what kind of businesses will be most impacted by the proposed 100% tariffs, many of you will be interested to know that is the importers who specialize in Natual Wine and the importers that bring over the small production, family produced wines that will either have to price their portfolio of wines far too high or partially eat the cost of tariffs. Then there are the small, independent retailers who sell these wines and the other small production, highly coveted wines, and those that do self importation that will also be turned around in the face of margins that are too low and wines that are now over-priced.
But, if in response to the 100% tariffs, the Europeans relent and stop punishing Boeing by subsidizing Airbus, then we can use this American victory and the uplift it will provide to President Trump as a balm to apply to the wounds left on the U.S. wine industry. So there’s that.
Marvin Shanken, publisher of the venerable Wine Spectator Magazine and not one to get too political in print, noted in an editorial a few days ago that:
“Wine is under attack. The biggest threat to the wine business today is an increase in tariffs on imported wines….Wine is a deeply rooted and economically valuable part of our culture. The wine business is a global network that includes family producers, farmers, restaurateurs and other small businesses as well as large international companies. These people are innocent victims of the trade war. They deserve our support.”
So, if you believe that imposing 100% tariffs on European wines, causing the destruction of primarily small, American wine businesses, and huge increases to wine consuming American consumers is the wrong thing to do, then here is a small but important step you can take:
TELL THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE YOU ARE OPPOSED TO THESE TARIFFS.
1.-COPY THE LETTER BELOW IN RED
2-CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW THE LETTER TO THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE COMMENT PAGE
3-PASTE IN THIS LETTER
4.-CHANGE THE WORDING IF YOU LIKE
JUST LET THOSE CONTEMPLATING IMPOSING THESE TARIFFS KNOW THAT YOU OPPOSE THEM. THIS SHOULD TAKE YOU NO MORE THAN 30 SECONDS TO ACCOMPLISH.
Re: Opposition to Tariffs on Imported Wine from the European Union
Dear Amb. Lighthizer:
I am writing as a customer and consumer of imported and domestic wines that is concerned with the multiple rounds of tariffs that are being imposed and considered on wine from the European Union (“EU”), particularly the proposed 100% tariffs on EU wines. I strongly urge you not to punish me, or my fellow wine lovers, or the hardworking wine retailers, restaurateurs, importers and distributors for problems we didn’t cause. It’s unfair at face value. You should punish those responsible. Punishing Airbus and their suppliers and French digital services companies would be much more effective, as well as fair.
Because of these import tariffs, the prices will go up dramatically for wine. Margins on wine are extremely small, and the sale of wine is highly regulated, with virtually every state imposing a three-tier distribution system with markups occurring at each tier of distribution. Thus, a 25-percent tariff on wine imports will likely result in a 50-percent increase and a 100-percent tariff on wine imports will likely result in a 150-percent increase in prices for a consumer like me.
There is no substitute for imports of wine from the EU. Wines from the EU are different from domestic wines and wines from other countries as a matter of consumer taste.
As a wine consumer, I do not understand why individual consumers like me should suffer because of a dispute involving Boeing and Airbus. Retaliatory tariffs on these matters should target Airbus and their suppliers who benefitted from the subsidies or French digital services companies.
In addition to running a wine PR Consulting firm (Wark Communications), writing, and publishing a blog, I am also the Executive Director of the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR)—a national organization of smaller, independent wine retailers. In that capacity, I have received phone calls from and spoken to retailers, importers, and foreign producers who are straight-up frightened for their future over these proposed tariffs. I tell them that NAWR’s members have worked to rally their customers and clients to oppose these proposed tariffs. I tell them NAWR is working in Washington, DC to oppose these tariffs. I tell them that we will be testifying in front of the U.S. Trade Representative against these tariffs.
But what I really tell them most forcefully is that hundreds of thousands of consumers must be rallied to oppose these tariffs if there is any hope of stopping the carnage that will result from their imposition.
If you are a winery, a retailer, a restaurateur, an importer, a wholesaler, any other member of the wine trade or a consumer, you should do the same.