Feb 24, 2006

HB1190 -- Direct Wine Sales

OPPOSE: We oppose this as it's written, but totally killing some effort to protect a local industry is even more irresponsible. Legislation should be offered at no cost to the State, that protects an industry rather than threatening it. Wineries should maintain their ability to sell and ship direct to customers without being required to go through a middle man who will trim the wineries' margins, bulk up their own and control what product the public can access. The loser in this are the "Buy Indiana" wine drinkers that enjoy an occasional local treat.

We have a governor claiming to want to grow businesses across the state. We have a legislature and local governments that encourage public financial incentives for the smallest of projects.

Yet, the legislature would like us to now penalize a small, but successful cottage industry of Indiana wineries by limiting their long-established practice of direct sales to customers. Of course, this is at the hands of the longer-established distribution companies that have a stranglehold on alcohol sales channels. It's enough to make Joe Kennedy proud.

In its latest legislative twist, Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Garton is not going to allow the bill to advance. Rather, he prefers to put this back in the courts where nine Indiana wineries are challenging a government order not allowing them to ship in-state.

Status: Passed House 60-36. In Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure. Killed for now by Sen. Garton.

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