Making wine is hard work. It may sound glorious, but its really hard work. I know. I’ve made wine and beer on a small scale and you have to love what you do.
Although there are large conglomerates that profit very nicely in the wine industry, this pales compared to the thousands of small vineyards and wineries that make a living from making and selling wine, but work very hard for the money they make. So for these smaller vineyards and wineries there always has to be a fair amount of passion in what they do.
That’s why I am very happy to see that wines in the $15 – $25 dollar range are picking up. Large wineries may have economies of scale to produce wine at lower costs (and often less distinguished character), but small establishments normally cannot make any money at the lower end.
According to MarketWatch, American consumers are embracing wine and are willing to pay a bit more to find that special bottle. Silicon Valley Bank suggests that sales of wine worth $20 a bottle will grow on average 10% over 2009. So that’s good news for small producers like Eagles Nest Winery in San Diego. This is a great example of winery that has a passion for making the best wine they can and always sharing the experience with anyone willing to help to make the most of each harvest (just wish I lived closer!).
So that’s my YEA!! story. I am happy that these small, quality minded wineries can make up for some of the revenue lost over the last 18 months.
OK … now the S…!
Over the last 18 months I have found some really great bargains! I won’t mention any names, but really good producers who simply had too much wine stuck in distribution, and as a result ended up selling their wine at very discounted prices – to me! I feel guilty, but it has been a blessing in being able to sample many wines that would have been out of reach except for special occasions otherwise.
Well .. .that’s life. The pendulum swings back and forth. And its a good thing.. or I wouldn’t have any decent wine to drink at all.
It never seems to amaze me that when we are still feeling the effects of the worst recession since the Depression of 1933 and someone in government comes up with a good idea (something we need more of !) that will promote local industry and increase local revenues, that the naysayers come jumping out of the closet only to use the same tired excuse for not changing Prohibition Era laws that are either unnecessary, add cost, or simply hinder business today.
Case in point, a change suggested to Massachusetts law by Sen. Jamie Eldridge D-Action that would allow Massachusetts wineries to sell and offer a tasting of their wines at farmers’ markets in the state.
What’s the problem?
According to a report from WBZ News:
“The bill is strongly opposed by liquor store owners, who also led the resistance to a 2006 ballot question that would have expanded the sale of wine in supermarkets in Massachusetts. Voters defeated that measure by a 56-44 margin.
Frank Anzalotti, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Package Stores, said Eldridge’s bill is “fraught with peril” because there would be no guarantees that workers at farmers’ markets are properly trained to weed out minors.”
Now one would think this “concern” can be easily rectified and/or soothed:
- Assuming the wineries are using the same employees that pour at the winery itself, there is no issue as these people are trained – and just as competent to pour as those in a liquor store (in some cases they are family members that have a lot more to lose than a hired employee at a retail store).
- Assuming the wineries decide to hire new employees and/or contract for a particular event, the bill could stipulate that anyone selling or pouring must be trained.
I can’t think of any small winery in Massachusetts that would put their license in jeopardy in order to move some bottles at a farmers’ market. I also doubt there would be a huge drop off in sales at liquor stores around the state as many do not carry or only minimally carry locally produced wine.
Let’s be honest: allowing the tasting and sales of locally produced wines at farmers’ markets of an by itseld will not drastically increase sales. I would think that most people would buy one or two bottles, not walk away with several cases. However, what it will do is allow more people in Massachusetts to become familiar with and hopefully interested in locally produced wines.
What is the benefit?
- Massachusetts wineries would have the opportunity to get their wines seen and tasted by those who may be totally unfamiliar with their wines.This could mean immediate incremental sales at the farmers’ market or equally as important, new repeat customers of the winery direct through a wine club or similar, or perhaps by purchasing these wines where available at a local retail liqour store, resulting in increased sales for the store(s) and the wineries.
- As stated, local retail outlets could now find a local interest in purchasing Massachusetts wines. They would have the ability to stock more of these wines and increase their sales.
- The State of Massachusetts would benefit by helping to grow a nascent industry that based on growth would now be paying more taxes and perhaps hiring additional personnel (who will pay more taxes).
Bottom line: if we can allow guns to be bartered and/or sold at events without requiring the normal waiting period or background check, I think having a small taste of wine, and then subsequent sales to adults is not only quite reasonable, it makes good business sense.
Distribution (sales or bartering) of automatic weapons to unknown individuals makes me “fraught with peril”, and is likely less deadly than a sip of wine.