Every now and then it’s time to pause and share a few things going on in the wine world which will eventually affect the habits of most if not all wine drinkers.
Indiana alcohol laws make the news. Indiana is usually featured in stories about our lack of Sunday sales when it comes to garnering attention. But very recently the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s decision that Indiana’s policy of separating beer and liquor wholesaling doesn’t violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
So what does that mean for consumers? One of the biggest wholesalers challenged the law arguing it discriminated against beer wholesalers. Well, that’s just nonsense. What it does do is keep alcohol distributors from bigger monopile than they already enjoy.
The old three tier distribution system dates back to post-prohibition. It’s an outdated income model for the middle man – the distributors. Many Hoosiers have wine shipped to their home. But there are many states where the laws are so convoluted or the permits so expensive that it’s just not profitable for west coast wineries to go to the trouble. The state’s liquor laws are crazy – don’t forget the silly Ricker’s mess from the past legislative session. Ricker’s figured out, legally, how to offer cold beer sales on Sundays by adding some food sales to their convenience stores. How dare they think creatively. The legislature passed a measure prohibiting such sales but grandfathering in some who had figured out how to get around the law. They set a curious deadline that excluded Ricker’s from the exception.
This is where the form paragraph should be inserted about the alcohol lobby’s campaign contributions. Everyone, even in the Indiana legislature, gets contributions. The same company that sought to strengthen its monopoly was investigated for skirting campaign contribution laws in 2015.
The legislature is talking of modernizing our booze laws. It will be quite interesting to see if they can make the type sweeping changes the state needs and deserves.
Look out for Lodi wine explosion. The cost of grapes and property in Napa Valley is so high many are forecasting a boom for Lodi. For those without a map, Napa is due north of San Francisco while Lodi is due east of the Golden Gate. Lodi grows many of the same grapes that Napa is well known for. But in Napa a ton of high quality Cabernet can cost $5000-$20,000. That’s how you end up with $300 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. Conversely, Lodi Cab and Cabernet from other areas in the state can be purchased for much less.
If you want to drink California Cabernet look for Lodi on the label or Paso Robles or even “Happy Valley” from Santa Barbara.
Napa could become Cab only. The explosion in Napa Cab value and price has come partially at the expense of Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot. Those varietal could slowly disappear from Napa because of the price growers can earn by growing Cabernet
Howard Hewitt, Crawfordsville, IN., writes every other week about wine for more than 20 midwestern newspapers. Write Howard at: firstname.lastname@example.org