Government push to limit wine shipping draws fire

wine selling
wine selling

Wine enthusiasts have launched an all-out war on legislation under consideration in Washington, D.C., to limit their direct access to wineries' offerings. The goal of HR5034 is ostensibly to allow states to control whether alcohol -- including wine -- can be shipped into or out of state, and to reap the tax benefits of any interstate commerce.

That sounds reasonable enough to many, particularly during a prolonged recession, but beneath the surface there are many off notes, including questions about who really benefits and how smaller wineries ignored by most distribution networks are supposed to cope. Some of the anger has bled into two Facebook pages, "STOPHR5034" and "Free the Grapes!" -- with a combined 21,000 members and counting.

One recent poster lampooned the Congressional debate with her own quandary: "My debate was between a bottle of Karl's Blend Chardonnay (beautiful small California bottling blended by Ronn Wiegand, MW) and Robert Oatley Vineyards Pinot Grigio. I went for the 'easier to get' irony and toasted with the PG."