Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Special: A New Ohio Whine

I know, I know, two posts in one day is a bit excessive; but this stuff is just piling up on me. If I don't get it out there in a timely fashion, I will explode. Since this is a sight too monstrous to even contemplate, I am therefore handing you this bit of personal aggravation.

Well the government is attacking me again! I know that this sounds paranoid, but with the Federal government attacking my cigar habit, the State of Ohio has now taken up the gauntlet and is attacking my love for wine.

Change in Ohio Law which went into effect on October 1st prohibits out-of-state wineries of certain sizes from shipping their product directly to customers in the state. The supposed rationale behind this is to protect Ohio's wineries, though I am reluctant to believe that someone who was interested in a Grand Reserve Cabernet will now settle for a bottle of Lonz or Heineman. No, the dirty little secret here is that this law is designed to protect distributors and retailers in the State of Ohio. Already burdened with state laws as to minimum pricing on wine and beer, they sought and received protection from producers who could supply product at more than competitive prices.

I myself have had wine shipped to my home in for many years. V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, CA is a personal favorite of mine. These guys make some good white wines and some fantastic red wines, along with a unique California Madeira. It has an exceptionally small distribution in the San Francisco area and relies on direct sales from the winery for everything else. It must be working, because the place has grown tremendously in the 25+ years since I first visited it. I have also had other wines shipped to me from wineries in both valleys of California, Washington State, and Oregon; usually because I was traveling through the area and preferred shipping it to carrying it home.

Ohio however, in its infinite wisdom on all things including wine, has decided that it should further control what choices I should be able to make in this area. Like my Federal government, they feel only through interference in a free market economy can they see that right is done. My only assumption is that they feel that Ohio's wineries produce such an inferior product that only through government protection can they survive.I disagree. I am not a particular fan of the wines of Ohio, but not because they are inferior. It is simply that they tend to produce a product whose sweetness does not suit my tastes.

I object in principle to any interference or restriction by any level of government in my ability to choose what I will and will not purchase. I further object to the State of Ohio trying to protect distributors and retailers from legitimate competition. Finally I object to being treated as if I were stupid and couldn't see through the thinly disguised excuses that they are making in trying to protect these special interests groups.

As for the wine that I love, I will figure out something. As creative as the government has become in restricting my freedoms, I will be even more creative in regaining them.


Maggie Thurber said...

my husband found a neat boutique winery during one of his business trips and he ocassionally orders from them...looks like that's over...

and then there is the California distributor who doesn't handle any of the major winemakers, specializing instead on boutique wineries...wonder if shipments from them will be be restricted as part of the 'wisdom' from Columbus???

Tim Higgins said...

Not necessarily true kind lady. I can't speak for the issue of the distributor, but I did some checking with my favorite winery in Napa. It appears that the new law does not impact wineries which produce below a certain level.

You may want to have your husband give them a call, but I suspect that you may still be able to obtain the grape juice you desire.

As for the wisdom in Columbus, I will choose the high road and not comment. I will however, mumble under my breath for 3-5 minutes after I post this.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I've found Columbus and wisdom register in my brain as an oxymoron...

So far, I've found no reason to dispute this.

Tim Higgins said...

I would extend your comment to say that "Government Intelligence" at any level is an oxymoron.

I am also beginning to believe that this word, used in this context, might more accurately be defined as:

"Morons whose brain functions have ceased through oxygen depletion."

... I am already in contact with Webster