10 March 2010

More Wineism (New Word!)

A new law took effect in September 2009 that will allow Texas wineries to pour and sell their wines at farmers markets and festivals in wet or dry areas, and without the festivals having a liquor license, as long as the wine is bottled in Texas and contains a certain percentage of Texas grapes or juice. The wineries have to get a two-year certificate for each event or market that limits their participation to no more than five days at one location within a 30-day period and no more than three consecutive days at a single location.

This is a disturbing law on a couple of levels. First, this could set Texas' Local Option laws on their collective ears. The Local Option allows each city, country or even precinct in a county to determine whether or not to allow alcohol sales. For example, Mesquite, Texas is dry while the neighboring towns are wet. I know this because Ricky D. Sawyer is both a proponent of the Local Option, and a liquor retailer in the wet community of Balch Springs. He opposes alcohol sales in Mesquite to protect his children. I wonder if he knows that a Farmers Market in Mesquite could sell wine? In full view of his children? This law puts the decision to sell alcohol into the hand of the manufacturer instead of the voter.

Second, what about Mr. Sawyer's business? Doesn't he sell wine? How much more is his license than the wineries' permit? Will Wineries selling wine at a Farmers Market take food off his family's table and money out of his Local Option war chest?

Third, what about wine distributors? Won't they lose money as they would if breweries sold beer? Won't they be unable to encourage Texas winery growth (as the beer distributors testified they do when the brewery sales bill came up last year) they do for Texas Brewery growth?

More wineism (the preferential treatment of wine over other alcoholic beverages). We can go to a winery, pay for samples and buy cases and cases of wine. They will tell us what stores in our hometowns sell their product. But go on the Real Ale Brewing brewery tour, and they can give you samples but you can't buy anything except T-shirts, and they can't tell you who sells their beer. Texas could have a brewing industry as vibrant as our wine industry if only the law would treat vinters and brewers the same. Don't believe me? Check this out!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:25

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