There are many things happening in the wine world every day readers may not read but could find interesting. As a wine writer, I get e-mail updates of all types from various wine industry publications and newsletters.

U.S. House Legislation on Wine Shipping.
Wholesale wine and beer distributors stop at nothing to build and sustain their empires. There have been two bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in the last year that would be disastrous for wine consumers.

The New York Times published a story Oct. 18, 2010 concerning H.R. 5034 that demonstrates how passage of this law not only hurts wineries looking to serve their customers, but also dramatically effects retailers of wine too: “The bill, though, which is unlikely to come up for a vote until next year, would clearly mean a narrowing of choices for consumers.

Readers can find a wealth of information on H.R. 5034 online. Suffice it to say that wine consumers and wineries are strongly opposed to this contemptible legislation.

There was no real action on H.R. 5034 so the National Beer Wholesalers Association came back with H.R. 1161 this year. The details are slightly different but with the same effect. These stifling direct shipping laws and all of the efforts made to limit shipping prevent consumers from legally buying the wine of their choice and having it shipped to their home. Such legislation destroys free commerce and is job killing.

It’s impossible to go into detail here, but if you attend a local legislative breakfast let your U.S. Representative know you oppose any efforts to restrict direct shipping of wine.

The Silly Argument of Underage Drinking
The arguments about underage drinking and laws like the one above just don’t hold water. Proponents of laws like the ones mentioned consistently spread the fallacy they are trying to protect underage consumers.

Think about that for a second. I borrowed the following list from a fellow wine blogger. For an underage person to order wine online, and get it shipped to their door they must: 1. Obtain a credit card; 2. Obtain fake identification; 2. Order online and get past age verification services; 4. Wait a week or so for their booze to arrive; 5. Be at home when the delivery is made; 6. Convince the delivery person they are over 21; 7. Have a snappy answer ready when the parents find that cardboard box labeled “Contains Alcohol.”

Give the Lady a Drink
According to the Wine Market Council female wine drinkers have surpassed men for the first time since such data has been recorded. The report said 53 percent of ‘core wine drinkers’ are now women. Core wine drinkers are those defined as drinking wine at least once a week.

Future columns
I had the chance to visit with some of the top Paso Robles winemakers in October and ask some questions about Syrah. They have some strong opinions about why the grape never took off to be the “next Cabernet.”

Later this spring I’m planning to travel to Madison, Wisconsin to visit some of that state’s wineries. I did such a trip last summer in Michigan and really got a lot of material and learned about that state’s great cool climate wines.

I also have a tentative trip set for late July to Oregon’s Willamette Valley – home of some of the best Pinot Noir in the world.

Thanks for reading Grape Sense!

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