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Mar 11

Wine in Ky Groceries?

I’m always getting forwards and online petitions from folks. I tend to just delete them.

But one of them caught my eye today, as I’m sure my friend who sent it intended. I verified it before publishing (as all good bloggers do), so now I’m sharing.

For a while, I’ve been following the story of trying to get wine into Ky grocery stores, similar to Ohio. Having lived in Ohio for a good deal of time, I was accustomed to this. When I moved to Ky, I learned that it’s sort of a pain to go put all my groceries in the car, esp in the summer heat, and run back to the separate liquor store to buy wine. My methods changed – I started shopping at the larger stores, such as Party Town and Party Source, and making trips specifically geared towards wine and liquor.

As you can read in this article from the Louisville Courier-Journal, these types of stores aren’t at all happy with the bill. Based on my personal example, I understand why. It would definitely hurt their business. However, I know that I can always get better prices at Party Source than I can the Kroger Liquor Store. I also know that Liquor Direct, Party Town, and Party Source all have much better and broader selections in just about everything than my local Kroger liquor store. So why go to Kroger?

The argument being used by the Food & Wine Coalition is a bit weak. They say it will help sell Ky Wines. I’m not so sure about that and I think they need to change their tact. I admit that in stores like Remke, where there is a Kentucky-Proud area of the store with local products, Ky wine would get a nice feature. But I can’t exactly see that happening in Kroger or other larger chain stores.

But if this bill does past, grocery stores would get a big boost. Women are the fastest growing segment of the wine-buying market. Who does most of the grocery shopping in a family? Right, the girls. Grocery stores know that gearing the right wines towards women in their store is a boon – once you’re buying dinner, why not pick up a bottle of that Mad Housewife Cab to go with your steak?

There are other reasons, but I suspect that’s at the heart of it.

For me, well, it would occasionally just be convenient to drive right down the street and still pay less than the high prices usually (but not always) found at the local Cork and Bottle.

More information on how you can help make this happen is after the jump.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:19 pm in Legislation | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 15

Write Your Local Congressman

Honestly, I spend a lot of time beating my head against the wall because of our ridiculous wine shipping laws in the tri-state area. It’s like Prohibition all over again – in the name of commerce. I first posted an alert on this particular issue back in June, when the folks at Kinkead Ridge brought it to my attention.

Harmony Hill, one of our favorite Ohio wineries, is no longer shipping wine to consumers in any state due to Ohio’s new shipping laws. Post your comments and support for Harmony Hill. I find it sad that Ohio’s laws are not only hurting consumers, but hurting small winemakers in its own state.

UPDATE: Nancy Bentley, from Kinkead Ridge, posted information in the comments section of this post on how to contact your congresspeople. She also mentioned that Kinkead Ridge has stopped shipping wine as well.

Here is the letter from Harmony Hill:

Dear Friends of Harmony.
As of Monday, October 1, Harmony Hill Vineyards & Estate Winery
will no longer ship wine to consumers
, in ANY State. This
regretful decision is based on a new law passed by our legislators that
bans direct shipment of out-of-state wine to Ohio consumers from wineries that
produce more than 150,000 gallons. That, alone, would not be an issue (Harmony
Hill produces less than 3000 gallons) except that the law limits the
purchase per household to no more than 24 cases.
Sec. 4303.233. No family household shall purchase more than twenty-
four cases of nine-liter bottles of wine in one year.

Our fear is the winery’s liability for shipping that illegal 25th case to
an Ohio household, since we are not able to track how much wine each
household has already purchased.

I could easily turn this into a five page email touting my opinions of
how this could have possibly happened in this day and age, but instead ask that
you check the "Legislative Alert"
link on our web site to see how many
of Ohio citizens’ rights have been rescinded by this ridiculous
legislation. I will only share one letter from a loyal Harmony Hill customer who
summarizes these limitations very well, and ask that you visit our
Legislative Alert page and form your own opinions based on what others around
the country are stating.

With regrets,
Bill & Patti

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Posted by Michelle at 9:55 am in Legislation | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jun 11

Ohio Wine Laws – Legislative Alerts

I know I’m usually a one-post-per-day type of gal. But I just got an email worthy of a second post for the day. Ron & Nancy of Kinkead Ridge have given me permission to repost their email here. Take a minute to digest it:

We have been working diligently to insure Ohio has a fair and constitutional solution to the direct shipping issue.
Tuesday June 5th, over the objections of our Senator Tom Niehaus and
Senate Finance Chair Carey, Senate President Harris attached a wine
amendment to the budget bill.
The amendment, if
implemented, will eliminate your ability to order wine from medium and
large wineries. Orders from small wineries are permitted, but with many
"only in Ohio" restrictions and such bureaucratic excess that in fact
little wine will likely be shipped.
The bill’s
amendment has been reviewed by WineAmerica, a national winery trade
organization. We were told that at least some of their recommendations
had been implemented. They were not.
budget bill (HB119) is due to be voted on Wednesday the 13th of June.
After that it will go to conference where changes can be made.
is the time to make your views known to your elected representatives.
At a minimum, all of WineAmerica’s recommendations should be inserted
into the amendment in conference. At best, the amendment should be
pulled and submitted as standard legislation.
wholesalers, a few Ohio wineries, and the Senate President have
demonstrated a disregard for wine consumers and the legislative process
which should not go unchallenged.
Your Senators can be contacted using the information here.

It’s not just happening in Ohio. There are wine laws in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, just to name a few, that do not favor the consumer. We actually had a wine club in California drop us last year because of our state. It’s getting harder to get the wines you want, from the the places you want, at the prices you want to pay.

Need more information for your own state? Check out FreetheGrapes.org and Wine America.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:09 pm in Cincinnati, Legislation, Local, Local Wineries, Wineries | Permalink | Comments ()

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