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Vin de Napkin – The Compliance Conundrum

A critical impediment with the direct shipping issue in the wine industry is compliance.  Though, it is not compliance from a “oh, I have to be compliant” perspective.  It is more from a, “I care about shipping my wine to anybody that wants to buy it and doing so legally and therefore I pay attention to the changes in laws in order to maximize my business.”

I would hazard a guess that from 2005 to now, post-Granholm, winery owners attention to and interest in compliance, outside of topical headline reading, has precipitously declined.  Simply, it is a lot of information … but somebody at each winery needs to be accountable for, and chartered with maximizing a winery’s direct shipping capability to EVERY STATE where it is possible if not for actual business, for business development; for industry window-dressing.

Many good and valid points are made on a continual basis across the spectrum of vested parties in the direct wine shipping issue, however one issue that never comes up and should is the fact that not enough wineries actually put their money where their mouth is and get the $100 permit in the newly opened state in order to sell wine to maximum capacity everywhere that they can.

How can other people take the issue of winery direct shipping seriously, if wineries are asleep at the wheel?

By some estimates, about 5% of the available wine in the U.S. market is available on a shelf in Indiana.  You would think that wineries would have jumped on the capability to ship to Indiana consumers when given the capability late last year.  Not so much.  Go ahead, I dare you—audit any random dozen winery ecommerce sites.  Ship to Indiana?  Nope.

So, this is the conundrum:  the capability to legally direct ship to consumers is fine, but wineries have to give a damn and get the permits, too.

And, I am not seeing enough of the “giving a damn” part.

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Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (3) |


Comments

On 06/01, el jefe wrote:

I’d love to ship to Indiana, however (from the Wine Institute web site):

“In order to send shipments for both onsite and offsite sales to Indiana, supplier cannot have had a distributor relationship in Indiana in the last 120 days.”

So I would have to fire my distributor, wait 4 months, and hope that the orders come pouring in…. hopefully the citizens of Indiana will be able to get this silly law changed so that I can offer them the wines that my distributor does not choose to bring in…

On 06/01, Richard Shaffer wrote:

Jeff - does it really make sense for a winery or retailer to be in every single state just because it’s open to them? Seems the “cost” of playing in some states often includes more than simply paying a one-time fee (ongoing fees, reporting, costs of the time to apply and complete reports) plus smaller wineries/retailers may have to sell a lot more than they expect to in certain states to cover costs of doing business there.

Richard

On 06/02, Jeff wrote:

Richard,

My point is that there are a lot of people fighting for winery rights and in a lot of cases I think wineries need to step up and get permitting in as many places as possible as a cost of doing business.

Put a little skin in the game, so to speak.

Now, El Jefe’s point is well-taken, but he’s in a little different situation because he’s a part of the 5% that has distribution in Indiana, which, trust me, isn’t easy given the small number of distributors we have.

Jeff


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